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ScienceDaily (May 12, 2010) — Using observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton, astronomers have announced a robust detection of a vast reservoir of intergalactic gas about 400 million light years from Earth. This discovery is the strongest evidence yet that the "missing matter" in the nearby Universe is located in an enormous web of hot, diffuse gas.
This missing matter -- which is different from dark matter -- is composed of baryons, the particles, such as protons and electrons, that are found on the Earth, in stars, gas, galaxies, and so on. A variety of measurements of distant gas clouds and galaxies have provided a good estimate of the amount of this "normal matter" present when the universe was only a few billion years old. However, an inventory of the much older, nearby universe has turned up only about half as much normal matter, an embarrassingly large shortfall.
The mystery then is where does this missing matter reside in the nearby universe? This latest work supports predictions that it is mostly found in a web of hot, diffuse gas known as the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium (WHIM). Scientists think the WHIM is material left over after the formation of galaxies, which was later enriched by elements blown out of galaxies.
"Evidence for the WHIM is really difficult to find because this stuff is so diffuse and easy to see right through," said Taotao Fang of the University of California at Irvine and lead author of the latest study. "This differs from many areas of astronomy where we struggle to see through obscuring material."
To look for the WHIM, the researchers examined X-ray observations of a rapidly growing supermassive black hole known as an active galactic nucleus, or AGN. This AGN, which is about two billion light years away, generates immense amounts of X-ray light as it pulls matter inwards.
Lying along the line of sight to this AGN, at a distance of about 400 million light years, is the so-called Sculptor Wall. This "wall," which is a large diffuse structure stretching across tens of millions of light years, contains thousands of galaxies and potentially a significant reservoir of the WHIM if the theoretical simulations are correct. The WHIM in the wall should absorb some of the X-rays from the AGN as they make their journey across intergalactic space to Earth.
This discovery is the strongest evidence yet that the "missing matter" in the nearby Universe is located in an enormous web of hot, diffuse gas.
Originally posted by TLomon
mnemeth1, do you know of any papers that were written more recently then 25 years ago? The references used in the paper date back to the 50s and 60s. A lot of discoveries have been over the past 20 years, and I am afraid plasma cosmology doesn't have an explanation for all of them.
I am failing to see how the article supports the plasma cosmology - this find supports the existing cosmology that was previously experiencing problems due to the lack of matter (which the article is announcing as found).
The paper does nothing to explain background cosmic radiation (1930s?), gravitaitonal lensing (proven 1979), and other proven attributes of the universe. If the plasma cosmology has any merit, there must be more recent papers out there that address the latest findings in science.
You can't expect people to ignore 20 years of research, validating predictions, etc. while comparing it to a theory that was created over two decades previously and doesn't even talk about it.