Did you find yourself looking at the night sky any differently since our chat on Friday? Regardless of whether outer space contains other realms invisible to us or not, it’s hard not to fathom the possibility. Especially considering everything that’s made of matter — protons, neutrons, electrons, photons, neutrinos, and even gravitational waves — only makes up a sliver (5 percent) of the known Universe.
This fact has also stayed with me. It’s humbling, especially considering we talked about black holes and antimatter on Friday, both of which are included in that 5 percent. The vast majority of the known Universe is made of material we don’t understand—dark matter and dark energy.
As I mentioned, on Friday, Curious Adventure explored black holes and antimatter. I became curious about both because I read a few months back claiming outer space isn’t empty. It says it’s full of “worlds within worlds” we can perceive with our five senses.
Whether it’s true or not, I decided to see what we know about all that empty space, in well, space. My first topics of interest were black holes and antimatter, both things we know about but still remain mysterious.
We’ve known about black holes for a long time. We think they form when a star collapses. We can’t see them, but we know they contain an unfathomable gravitational pull so strong not even light can get through. Although we aren’t sure, it’s believed the middle of a black hole leads to a singularity that breakdown spacetime as we know it. Still, we aren’t sure what they’re made of.
We know a bit more about antimatter, like that it’s identical to matter except with an opposite charge. Anytime antimatter and matter meet, it ends in mutual destruction. The mysteries of antimatter isn’t what it is, as much as why there’s so little of it. Though, that answer can be found in a different newsletter and revolves around the oscillation of particles.
But like I said at the start, black holes, antimatter, and all the matter in outer space, only account for about 5 percent. So, let’s learn more about the other 95 percent.
The very word “dark” just means we don’t know what it is because we can’t see it. We can’t study it using standard means of the electromagnetic spectrum—measuring the light we can see, x-rays, gamma-rays, ultraviolet, or radio waves—because it doesn’t absorb, emit, or produce any.