Astronomers have used an algorithm based on the growth patterns of slime mold to map something that's basically impossible to see: The cosmic web of gas and dark matter underpinning the very structure of the universe.
Scientists have known for decades that the universe is expanding, but research in the past few years has shaken up calculations on the speed of growth — raising tricky questions about theories of the cosmos.
That you exist in the Universe is pretty obvious, at least to yourself. But now researchers have used the fact that human observers are alive — and haven’t been zapped into oblivion by supernova explosions — to account for the puzzling weakness of dark energy, the mysterious force accelerating the expansion of the Universe.
For years the scientific community has been on the hunt for the more well-known ‘dark matter’, which is a mysterious substance throughout the Universe the effects of which can be seen through its gravitational pull.
An international team of astronomers, led by Christopher Conselice, professor of astrophysics at the University of Nottingham, have found that the Universe contains at least two trillion galaxies — 10 times more than previously thought.