In a new paper published this week (September 11), scientists outlined how small-scale concentrations of dark matter in galaxy clusters produce gravitational lensing effects 10 times stronger than expected.
Gravitational lensing occurs when a source of gravity is powerful enough to bend the fabric of space itself – spacetime – causing light passing nearby to swerve.
And galaxy clusters are the largest hoards of dark matter in the Universe, holding hundreds to thousands of individual galaxies bound together by gravity.
Clusters hold dark matter on a large scale as well as on a smaller one within all of their individual galaxies.
Massimo Meneghetti of the INAF (National Institute for Astrophysics)-Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science of Bologna in Italy, the study’s lead author, said: “Galaxy clusters are ideal laboratories to understand if computer simulations of the Universe reliably reproduce what we can infer about dark matter and its interplay with luminous matter.