The MUSE instrument unveils some of the Universe's missing matter

Oct 12, 2021 | Shaoni Ghosh

The MUSE instrument unveils some of the Universe's missing matter title banner

The word 'galaxy' has come down to us from the Greek terminology 'galaxies', which in literal sense means 'Milky' from where the word 'Milky Way' has been derived.


Although the Milky Way, the galaxy we live in, has been explored, there are almost a million others in the universe. The suggestable notion is that most of the galaxies contain vast black holes.


(Must Check: The Milky Way- An Example of Spiral Galaxies)


The Research


Even galaxies exchange matter with their respective external environment, and it happens due to the galactic winds generated by stellar explosions. 


Galactic winds are basically streams of extremely high speed charged particles, which are frequently seen thrusting out of galaxies. They consist of mainly two energy origins: one is starbursts and the other is active galactic nuclei.


An International research team, assisted by the CNRS and l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, have succeeded in making the best use of the MUSE instrument from the Very Large Telescope at the ESO.


The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) is a three-dimensional spectrograph which is implemented for the sole purpose of exploring the distant universe and the beyond of the known. 


(Also Check: How Big Is The Universe?)


Through this MUSE instrument, the research team has procured a comprehensive map relating to the galactic wind which is at the receiving end as well as propelled exchanges, the gap observed in between a young galaxy and a nebula. 


The young galaxy is yet to be formed, and a nebula is a clouded form of gas and dust; the latter consists mainly of helium, dust and other gases in varied concentrations.


Having decided to scrutinize galaxy Gal1, since it is near to a quasar, which guides the scientists towards the subject of research work, just as a "lighthouse" guides a mariner. 


They had also planned to observe a nebula around Gal1, though the luminosity of the nebula was not known.




As reported by SciTechDaily, having located the positions of the galaxy as well as the quasar, along with the success in excavating the theory of gas exchange due to galactic winds have been able to meet all the requirements for the research team to unify the elements into a map.


It resulted in the first and foremost observation of a nebula in the process of forming and is spotted to have releasing and absorbing magnesium, which are "some of the Universe's missing baryons-with the Gal1 galaxy."


Baryons are heavy subatomic particles which consist of three quarks that include protons, neutrons and other particles. Baryons are responsible for creating almost everything in the universe- stars, galaxies etc.


However, there lies a thin difference between the "missing" baryons and dark matter; the latter consists of non-baryonic matter. 


The research led to an incredible discovery of some of the Universe's missing baryons, highlighting that 80-90% of normal matter can be observed beyond galaxies.

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