Watch a powerful new simulator depict how galaxies form

Illustris TNG is a theoretical astrophysics project that created the most detailed simulation of the universe to date, and it turns out that black holes influence the distribution of dark matter. Read the rest

We only see 5% of the universe

Astrophysicist Katie Mack (astrokatie.com) created this startling pie-chart to illustrate the ratio of observed matter to dark matter and energy, the invisible bulk of the universe.

From her 2014 article, The Dark Matter Poltergeist:

So what do we know? We know dark matter is real—the evidence is overwhelming. Something must be responsible for the extra gravity messing with the motions of stars and galaxies. If that doesn’t convince you, you can look to gravitational lensing—the bending of light around massive objects. The presence of dark matter accounts for the way the light from distant stars and galaxies is distorted as it travels through the universe, following the gravitationally induced curving of space-time itself. If motion and lensing don’t convince you, look at the evidence that galaxies existed within a billion years of the Big Bang. Without dark matter as a kind of cosmic glue, galaxies would have taken much longer to form, as the gravity of gas and dust and stars had to fight against the pressure of all that matter colliding and heating up. Or just take a look at the Bullet Cluster. It’s the aftermath of a cosmic collision in which clusters of galaxies collided but the bulk of the matter passed right through the collision, in the way only ghostly dark matter could.

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UAE surveillance contractor is recruiting an army of foreign hackers to break into its citizens' devices

The world's most sophisticated security experts have been bombarded with recruiting offers from UAE-based company Darkmatter, which bills itself as a major state security contractor -- but people who've taken the bait say they were then told that they were being hired to weaponize huge arsenals of zero-day vulnerabilities so that the UAE can subject its own population to fine-grained, continuous surveillance. Read the rest

PBS NewsHour: Scientists search for understanding of dark matter (video)

PBS NewsHour science correspondent Miles O'Brien goes underground in pursuit of dark matter:

At the bottom of a nickel mine near Sudbury, Ontario, scientists at one of the world's most sophisticated particle physics observatories are investigating one of the biggest mysteries of the cosmos: What is dark matter? Science correspondent Miles O'Brien helps to shed some light on the research at SNOLAB.

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TOM THE DANCING BUG: Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reveals the Mystery of Dark Matter!!

RECOMMEND: Follow RUBEN BOLLING on TWITTER. Read the rest

Dark energy: No, seriously, what the heck is it?

The fun thing about the Nobel Prize in Physics is watching pundits try to explain to the public the research that won. It doesn't always go well. Physics is not, shall we say, the public's best subject. (And I include myself in that "public".) Beyond that, words that describe legitimate concepts in physics have taken on new, more fantastical meanings in science fiction, which only serves to confuse people further.

That's why I like this video produced by KQED Science. It features Lawrence Berkeley Lab astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, one of the winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, and does a nice job of explaining what "dark energy" really is, why work with dark energy is worthy of a Nobel, and what Perlmutter and his colleagues have contributed to the expansion of human knowledge.

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