The hunt for dark matter started with astronomer Fritz Zwicky's observations of the Coma galaxy cluster in the 1930s. This recent image of the Coma cluster combines optical and X-ray observations from the Chandra mission.
J.Sanders et al/NASA/CXC/MPE/SDSS
November 6, 2013 The hunt for dark matter started in the 1930s and shows no signs of ending any time soon. But physicist Marcelo Gleiser says our inability to pin down this key component to reality only makes it more alluring.
A section of the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment's detector during construction. The LUX detector sits a mile underneath the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Carlos H. Faham
November 5, 2013 We are awash in the unseen, a fact revealed to us by science. But there is more to discover. The hunt for dark matter is still on, says astrophysicist Adam Frank, despite news of another failed attempt to detect the mysterious stuff.
Science has been working to shed light on the nature of the Universe for 400 years.
April 10, 2013 Science discovers one dark material after another, making reality stranger than fiction. Commentator Marcelo Gleiser says the recent observation of the Higgs field and last week's announcement of the possible detection of dark matter are just the latest data points in our long quest to know what the Universe is made of.
January 2, 2013 I got your Dark Matter explanation!
April 25, 2012 Science hardly ever advances in a straight line. Recent observations casting doubt on the existence of Dark Matter force us to consider the lessons of history.
April 21, 2012 A survey of the sky fails to find signs of Dark Matter, a totally unexpected result. If the observations stand up to scrutiny, our understanding of the universe could shift significantly.
March 20, 2012 It wasn't long ago that we thought expansion of the universe was slowing down. Whoops! Science then identified Dark Energy as a force acting against deceleration. The discovery upended cosmology almost overnight.
This image of the galaxy cluster Abell 520 — 2.4 billion light-years away — may challenge some of our basic theories about Dark Matter. It is overlaid with false-color maps showing concentrations of starlight (orange), hot gas (green) and mass (blue). The mass is mostly Dark Matter.
M.J. Jee and A. Mahdavi/NASA/ESA/CFHT/CXO
March 13, 2012 The things we can see in the universe are moving faster than they should be. Why? Is the answer Dark Matter, or a physics we're not yet aware of? Science has made its choice. Only time will tell if the consensus was correct.
March 6, 2012 Left to its own devices it seems the "dark universe" would never be able to make something as remarkable as life. Now that is something to ponder. Perhaps the dark universe makes us matter more than we ever realized.
October 5, 2011 This years Nobel Prize in physics celebrates what is the biggest mystery in physics today. What's causing the cosmic acceleration?
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor