An astronomy scholar at Caltech, Richard Massey, discussed the latest findings about dark matter and dark energy, and how the Hubble Telescope is used to gather this data. Observed indirectly by the Hubble, dark matter doesn't reflect or shine but can be surmised by its gravitational influence. The universe contains six times more dark matter than regular matter and it's spread out in long thin poles that crisscross the cosmos, he detailed.
Dark matter acts as a kind of glue-- a scaffold that holds spinning galaxies in place, and thus is vital for the formation of life, Massey noted. In contrast, dark energy is a force that pushes things away from each other, and is making the universe larger.
Hubble, which is due for a repair, excels at observing faint objects at a great distance away. In 2006, it viewed the "Bullet Cluster," an unusual collision of two galaxies that occurred several million light years from Earth. Eventually, in the distant future, our galaxy, the Milky Way will collide with Andromeda.
Bumper music from Sunday June 24, 2007