Twenty years ago, researchers went on a quest to find all the material created by the Big Bang. Now, they finally managed to stumble upon the missing pieces of this material. Dubbing it the missing baryons, this represents the regular matter that is present both in stars and black holes. However, most of the universe is made of dark matter, which still lies hidden.
The missing baryons can help us learn about the universe
The universe is made of two types of matter: dark matter and regular matter. While dark matter is hard to detect, researchers started exploring the regular matter instead. However, through their studies, they only managed to spot two-thirds of the entire mass of regular matter. This has been the case until now, when hey finally stumbled upon the missing baryons.
These missing baryons are no ordinary type of matter. They are made from quarks, which are those particles found inside the atomic nuclei. Since researchers couldn’t find all the pieces of the universe, they couldn’t understand how it actually came into being. Now, this missing piece will help them solve a few mysteries.
“This is one of the key pillars of testing the Big Bang theory: figuring out the baryon census of hydrogen and helium and everything else in the periodic table,” explains one of the authors of the study, Michael Shull.
These missing particles make up the background of the universe
At the beginning of the 1990s, researchers tried to estimate the number of atoms of helium and hydrogen produced by the Big Bang. They assumed most of the products comprised of dark matter and dark energy, with the regular matter making up only 5 percent of the universe.
Researchers knew a part of the baryon particles make up galaxies, while others occupy the space between galaxies as gas. However, researchers were left with the missing baryons to study, which were about 30 percent of this regular matter.
By using three advanced telescopes, they managed to observe the background of the universe made up by these particles. This looks like a light that dates back soon after the Big Bang. More precisely, the ancient light came into being around 380,000 years after the creation of the universe. The study on the missing baryons was published in the journal Nature.
Image source: Pixabay