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The voice of the student.

The Wave

The voice of the student.

The Wave

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Announcements   Good morning Marco Island Academy, today is Friday, February 23rd, 2024,  and these are your morning announcements!...

In the Dark about Dark Matter

Photo  via NASA under NASA License
Dark matter is a fascinating and mysterious medium that scientists are actively finding out.
Photo via NASA under NASA License Dark matter is a fascinating and mysterious medium that scientists are actively finding out.

In humanity’s conquest for a better understanding of the cosmos, we have learned of new galaxies, nebuli, black holes, and other astronomical phenomena. Space, when broken down to its most elemental state, fits into a very basic theory. Said theory states that there is a finite amount of matter and energy in the universe. With our discoveries of more galaxies, nebuli, ect., we have found a rather problematic discrepancy: we are missing 80% of the matter in the universe. This missing matter turned into a “Where’s Waldo” for physicists for years.

Inevitably, the code was broken by astronomer Vera Rubin when she observed a phenomenon titled “telescope mirroring”, in which a telescope portrays double of an object. She concluded that there had to be an invisible object with enough mass to bend light littering the space between what is being observed and Earth.

This solved the “missing matter” problem, yet opened an entirely new question: what is this dark matter? We still don’t know. Numerous equations have been drafted to explain or predict how it behaves, yet its material components are still a mystery to us. Recent scientific breakthroughs have led astronomers to believe dark matter is made of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs (yes, the irony of this was not lost on us). These WIMPs are electrically neutral, meaning they do not strongly interact with other matter. This is why it had been so difficult to observe in the past; although the effects of dark matter on our solar system and Earth itself are vast, we couldn’t see them until we had the technology to look at the big picture.

Yet dark matter is only half of this equation. Matter and energy are interchangeable, meaning when there is dark matter there is also dark energy. This works in essentially the same way, filling in the mathematical holes that pockmark the universe.

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About the Contributor
Elle Richardson, Executive Editor
Elle Richardson is a senior at Marco Island Academy and the Executive Editor for The Wave. She enjoys learning about space, sailing, and 70s music. Math and science are her favorite subjects, and she hopes to use them to pursue a career in aerospace engineering, hopefully at the University of Florida. When she's not at school or work, Elle enjoys sorting vinyl records and dragging her friends to sailing with her.
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