New research from the University of Zurich has suggested that gravitational waves could shed some light on dark matter.
The presumptions come via a project by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), which astrophysicists say will enable them to observe gravitational waves emitted by black holes as they collide with or capture other black holes.
LISA will consist of three spacecraft orbiting the sun in a constant triangle formation.
"Gravitational waves passing through will distort the sides of the triangle slightly, and these minimal distortions can be detected by laser beams connecting the spacecraft," the Zurich University scientists - from the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology - said.
"LISA could therefore add a new sense to scientists' perception of the universe and enable them to study phenomena invisible in different light spectra."
They found this to be possible because LISA will not only be able to measure these previously unstudied waves, but could also help to unveil secrets about another mysterious part of the universe: dark matter.
Dark matter particles are thought to account for approximately 85 per cent of the matter in the universe.
However, they are still only hypothetical, the name refers to their 'hiding' from all previous attempts to see, let alone study them. But calculations show that many galaxies would be torn apart instead of rotating if they weren't held together by a large amount of dark matter.
That is especially true for dwarf galaxies. While such galaxies are small and faint, they are also the most abundant in the universe. What makes them particularly interesting for astrophysicists is that their structures are dominated by dark matter, making them 'natural laboratories' for studying this elusive form of matter.
This means this newly found connection between black holes and dark matter can now be described in a mathematical and exact way for the first time.
However, Lucio Mayer, the research group leader, added it is far from being a chance finding. He said:
"Dark matter is the distinguishing quality of dwarf galaxies. We had therefore long suspected that this should also have a clear effect on cosmological properties."
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