Spergel, David N. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.
Last reviewed:February 2019
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- Astronomical evidence for dark matter
- Galaxy motions in clusters
- Galaxy rotation curves
- Hot gas in elliptical galaxies and clusters
- Gravitational lensing
- Novel nature of dark matter
- Low-mass stars
- Deuterium and helium
- Cosmic microwave background fluctuations
- Dark matter candidates
- Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs)
- Black holes
- Other candidates
- Failure of general relativity
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Particles or objects that exert a gravitational force but do not emit any detectable visible light or other electromagnetic radiation of any kind. Dark matter is the dominant form of matter in our Galaxy and in the universe. Astronomers have inferred the presence of dark matter through its gravitational effects and have shown that dark matter is not composed of ordinary atoms. Particle physicists have suggested several plausible candidates for dark matter; ongoing and planned experiments are capable of detecting these new particles. There are controversial claims of dark-matter detection. If our understanding of gravity as explained by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is correct, as a century’s-worth of experiments have verified with ever-increasing precision, then dark matter must exist. However, it is possible that relativity is not correct, and a new physics paradigm will be needed to solve the mystery of dark matter. See also: Elementary particle; Gravity; Relativity; Universe
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