By Hugh Finlay
Images of 'dark matter' reveals to us that the Universe is a web-like structure with galaxies on the web, like pearls on a string. This picture of the universe can now be seen thanks to astronomers at the university of Waterloo in Canada looking at light sources from galaxies. The bending of light by these galaxies acts as lenses which allowing us to see the form of dark matter, which sticks closely to its friend 'bright matter' (visible matter).
Bright matter makes up 5% of the Universe. Another 68% of the Universe is 'dark energy', which pushes the universe apart, making sure it continues to expand. Dark matter makes up the remaining 27% of the Universe. Although dark matter is invisible we know it exists, because it exerts a gravitational force, balancing the expanding effect dark energy is having on the Universe. Dark matter does not respond to anything else, such as electromagnetic radiation or nuclear forces. Gathering around bright matter, dark matter forms into strings which stretch across the Universe. Galaxies, attracted by the gravitional force of these strings of dark matter and bright matter, settle along these strings to form a web-like structure. These webs then form into superclusters of galaxies stretching across the universe.
Previously this picture of the universe was in the area of mathematical theory. Now we can see that these strings of dark matter exist. As starlight passes through a mass it warps due to the effect of curves and dimples caused by gravity,It is the gravity caused by dark matter (and bright matter) which forms into lenses and which has allowed us to see dark matter for the first time. Combining various images of thousands of galaxies from 4.5 million light-years away, the astronomers created a map of the various strings of dark matter that connect the galaxies.
What these images show us is that these bridges of dark matter are strongest between galaxies less than 40 million years apart. So the visible map of the Universe is like a sugar speckled candy floss. And of course all the 'spaces' in-between are not spaces, but filled with dark energy and dark matter.