Scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder discovered the missing part of ordinary matter within the space between galaxies.
Baryons, commonly known as ordinary matter, exist in every physical object. In fact, baryons are the matter that everything in our existence, from planets and stars to black holes, is made of. To date, scientists could only determine and study only 2/3 of the ordinary matter that they presume Big Bang has created. But, during a new experiment, researchers are pretty sure they found the missing third in the space between the galaxies, as reported by ScienceDaily.
“This is one of the key pillars of testing the Big Bang theory: figuring out the baryon census of hydrogen and helium and everything else in the periodic table,” said Michael Shull from the University of Colorado at Boulder, who also referred to this finding as big leap forward for astrophysics.
Missing part of ordinary matter found in the space between galaxies
Until now, the scientists knew that about 10% of the ordinary matter is in galaxies, while 60% is in the gas clouds between the galaxies. But now, to search for the last third of baryons, the astronomers aimed a few telescopes towards 1ES 1553 quasar, a black hole in the middle of a galaxy that absorbs and ejects enormous volumes of gas.
Studying how the quasar’s radiation traveled through space, the researchers discovered a sort of a dense highly-ionized oxygen gas between the quasar and our solar system, which accounts for the remaining 30% of ordinary matter when extrapolated to the whole Universe.
“We found the missing baryons,” shouted Shull who also hypothesized that quasars and galaxies eject that gas into deep space, but only studying other bright quasars could prove his theory right.
The scientists made the observations with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument of the Hubble Space Telescope and the ESA’s XMM-Newton.