Weighing the Universe: Astrophysicists Measure the Total Amount of Matter, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy

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A research team relies on measuring the number of galaxy members to determine the mass of galaxy clusters. One of the most pressing questions in cosmology is, “How much matter exists in the universe?” An international team of scientists has now succeeded in measuring the total amount of matter fo

Scientists determined that the universe is made up of 31% matter and used innovative techniques to measure and verify this, paving the way for future galaxy surveys.

One of the most pressing questions in cosmology is, “How much matter exists in the universe?” An international team of scientists has now succeeded in measuring the total amount of matter for the second time.

Figure 1. Like Goldilocks, the team compared the number of galaxy clusters measured with predictions from numerical simulations to determine which answer was “just right.” Credit: Mohamed Abdullah To overcome this difficulty, the team was forced to use an indirect tracer of cluster mass. They relied upon the fact that more massive clusters contain more galaxies than less massive clusters . Because galaxies consist of luminous stars, the number of galaxies in each cluster can be utilized as a way of indirectly determining its total mass.

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