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Celebrate Dark Matter Day

On and around October 31st, 2023, the world will celebrate the historic hunt for the unseen—something that scientists refer to as dark matter.

Since 2017, more than 350 global, regional, and local events have been held on and around October 31 by institutions and individuals looking to engage the public in discussions about what we already know about dark matter and the many experiments seeking to solve its mysteries.

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Physics Hubs

  • Dark Matter Hub

    There's more of the universe that we don't understand than we do understand. Ordinary matter—the stuff that scientists have spent decades studying—makes up around five percent of the universe. The remainder is thought to be comprised of dark energy (around 70 percent) and dark matter (around 25 percent). What is all this dark stuff and how do we know it's there if we can't even see it directly?

    We know that dark matter exists because it acts on the cosmos in a number of ways. In the 1930s, an astrophysicist named Fritz Zwicky realized that, in order to act the way they do, galaxy clusters must contain a lot more mass than was actually visible. If the galaxies also contained unseen "dark" matter, everything made a lot more sense. Then, in the 1970s, astronomer Vera Rubin discovered that stars at the edge of a galaxy move just as quickly as stars near the center. This observation makes sense if the visible stars were surrounded by a halo of something invisible: dark matter. Since then, a number of other astronomical observations have confirmed the effects of dark matter.

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