Did You Know: Dark Matter

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Did you know that dark matter does not cast shadows?

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Office of Public Outreach, in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: IPAC, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Sonoma State University. 

  • Hubble Space Telescope map of dark matter in in galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17, 5 billion light-years away: NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Hubble Space Telescope image of galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17: NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Written by Margaret W. Carruthers 
  • Designed by Dani Player
  • Additional editorial input from Timothy Rhue II and Dr. Brandon Lawton
  • Music courtesy of Associated Production Music LLC

Text, Did you Know? Dark Matter.
Did you know? Dark Matter does not cast shadows. Map of dark matter in galaxy cluster C.I 0024 plus 17, 5 billion light-years away. Hubble Space Telescope.
Did you know? Dark matter makes up more than 80% of the matter in the universe.
These bluish clouds representing dark matter look shadowy and ghost-like.
But in reality, dark matter is completely transparent.
A blotchy blue background with bright spots of light.
Text, This image is not an actual photograph of dark matter.
It is a map that shows where dark matter is located.
A space scene with a black background and many dots of light in different sizes.
Text, Photograph of galaxy cluster C.I 0024 plus 17, with light distorted by invisible dark matter. Hubble Space Telescope.
Dark matter is invisible because it does not absorb, reflect, or emit any type of light.
We know that it exists and can map it because of the gravitational effects it has on normal matter and on light.
Some of the light distorted by dark matter. Three circles appear around bluish oblong shapes in the space image.
Text, Dark matter affects the orbits of stars in the galaxies and the paths that light takes through space.