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Weak Lensing Distorts the Universe

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Weak Lensing Distorts the Universe

Is the distant universe really what it appears to be?

Astronomers hope not.

dark matter,
which is normally invisible, might show its presence by
distorting images
originating in the

distant universe,
much the way an old window distorts images originating on the other side.

By noting the degree to which background galaxies appear
unusually flat and
unusually similar
to neighbors, the
dark matter distribution producing these weak
gravitational lensing
distortions can be estimated.

Analysis of the shapes of 200,000 distant
galaxies imaged with the
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
(CFHT) does indicate the presence of a massive network of
distributed dark matter.

Future results
may even be able to discern details of the distribution.

The above computer generated simulation image shows how dark matter,
shown in red, distorts
the light path from and apparent shape of
distant galaxies, depicted in blue.

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