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Dark Matter Warps Galaxy Clusters More Than Expected, Shaking Up Cosmic Theory

In a study published today in the journal Science, researchers examine how 11 gigantic clusters of galaxies bend the light passing through them, as seen from Earth. The study finds that these clusters harbor more than 10 times as many dense pockets of dark matter than predicted by supercomputer models. “When you find [such] a gap, most often it reveals that there’s an element of the model that needs to be refined,” says study co-author Priyamvada Natarajan, a theoretical astrophysicist at Yale University. “But occasionally — very rarely in the history of science — the gap actually shows you the way to a new theory.” The study is the latest to poke and prod at the leading model of the universe’s key ingredients and how they interact over time, known as Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM).

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