My satellite in the news!

July 10, 2012 by Joshua
in Blog, Nature

With all the news of the Higgs boson, you may have missed a big discovery in dark matter, a major remaining mystery of physics and astronomy. Most of the matter we can detect in the universe we can’t see directly. We can only see how it affects other things through gravity.

Very mysterious! We have almost no way to constrain its properties besides gravity or experiment with it. Yet it seems to make up 85% of the universe.

On July 4th Nature published “A filament of dark matter between two clusters of galaxies,” According to one of its authors, “It’s a resounding confirmation of the standard theory of structure formation of the universe. And it’s a confirmation people didn’t think was possible at this point.” Here’s a mainstream article on it and a less mainstream article on it.

Why do I mention it in my blog, most likely read by non-physicists?

Because it used data from my satelliteXMM-Newton. In the 90s at Columbia and Germany’s Max Planck Institute I helped calibrate and build it and wrote most of my PhD thesis on it. It’s been in high earth orbit since launch over ten years ago.

Hubris to mention press for data I didn’t analyze? Vanity, I’ll give you, but overweening pride I think not. Next time you work on something for four years that gets launched into space, let’s see you not mention seeing it in the news.

Interesting — along with Submedia’s first New York City display, two new things I helped develop and build that went into service ten years ago are still operating as designed.

Cool!

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