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Astronomers discover web of gas and dark matter
Posted: Thu, Aug 1, 2002, 8:55 AM ET (1255 GMT)
Chandra illustration of gas web (NASA) Several groups of astronomers have discovered a massive network of filaments of gas that may also be home to much of the dark matter believed to exist in the universe. Four teams of astronomers, working independently, used observations of distant quasars by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory to discover filaments of hot gas, with temperatures ranging between 500,000 and 3,000,000 million degrees Celsius. Astronomers believe these filaments are part of a larger web of gas that extends throughout the universe and dates back to the first few billion years of the universe. The web may also harbor much of the dark matter that astronomers theorize exists. The gas and dark matter combined may account for up to 80 percent of the mass of the universe; the mass of the gas alone may exceed the mass of all the stars in the universe.
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