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Dark matter accounts for five sixths of the universe's mass—so why do we know so little about it? Plus, why it takes whole minutes for computers to turn on

By Philip Ball   February 2007

Cosmic bones

The universe has had its first X-ray, and the skeleton looks much as expected. It is made of mysterious dark matter, which accounts for five sixths of the matter in the universe. It has been mapped out in a project called the Cosmic Evolution Survey (Cosmos), which pieced together more than 500 images from the Hubble space telescope to trace out the fine filaments of dark matter threading through deep space. These act like flypaper for ordinary matter, concentrating it into stars and galaxies.

In effect, Cosmos has revealed the hidden framework behind the entire visible world.…

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