Astrophysicists have calculated the sum of all matter in the universe using a new, more accurate method. Adding up the mass of hundreds of galaxy clusters, the researchers found that visible matter takes up less than a third of the volume in the entire surrounding space. This was reported in a press release from the University of California at Riverside.
Everything that we see around us and with which we interact in our daily life, in fact, is only a tiny part of what is in space. It has long been known that matter and energy are distributed in a ratio of about 32 to 68, and most of the matter is dark. Visible (or baryonic) matter is only about five percent of all that exists.
The model for the new calculation is just starting from this microscopic indicator. According to the study, matter occupies about 31.5% of the total content of the universe. The remaining 68.5% comes from dark energy – an unknown force that appears to be driving the acceleration of the expansion of the universe.
To reach that conclusion, the researchers have developed a new instrument called GalWeight, which allows them to calculate the mass of a cluster of galaxies by measuring the orbits of individual galaxies. Applying design to 756 clusters from the data, the team compared the results with the object formation models. Simulations start off with varying amounts of matter, so by seeing which models match the observations most closely, they can determine the most likely amount of matter in the universe.
“We were able to make one of the most accurate measurements ever made using the method of galaxy clusters, – explained Gillian Wilson, co-author of the study. Understanding the evolution of the universe can help us finally uncover the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.