- Written by Megan
Astronomers have been puzzling for years over why our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains much less matter than expected, but recent results may have found these missing particles!
According to current theories of the formation and evolution of our universe, the Milky Way should have about double the amount of 'baryonic matter' than astronomers have up until now been able to find. This baryonic matter is a category of fundamental particles including protons and neutrons, which make up all atoms in stars, planets and even us.
The mystery of the missing baryonic matter may have now been solved by a team of researchers who observed a halo of very hot gas surrounding our galaxy. This halo seems to be an enormous cloud, with a temperature starting from two million degrees, stretching hundreds of thousands of light years around the Milky Way.
The halo's very low density has made it difficult to spot until now. Further measurements and experiments will confirm size and mass values more precisely, but for now it looks likely that the missing baryonic matter in our galaxy has finally been revealed.