James Webb telescope gravitational lensing

The Spectrum of Dark Matter

In 1915, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravity waves. 100 years after that, the LIGO observatory system first detected those waves, confirming that old Albert was right. We built a few of the electronic boards that were used in support of the LIGO project so I was pretty excited when, in 2016, they finally announced the discovery. So excited, in fact, that I drove the four hours to the Hanford, Washington observatory for a tour.

If you aren’t familiar with gravity waves, go to LIGO, Caltech for a detailed explanation. Or read my mumbling through a brief overview: Until 2015, pretty much everything we human folk and been able to see has been in the electromagnetic spectrum. It is comprised of waves/particles that travel through the fabric of space, like fish in water. Gravity waves are movement in the actual fabric of space, like, well, waves in water. The electromagnetic spectrum travels through space. Gravity waves are a spectrum within the fabric of space. By directly observing gravity waves, we are seeing in a new spectrum beyond the electromagnetic.

Moving on to Dark Matter

When I first heard about Dark Matter, it was described to me as something akin to a fudge factor used to make the standard model of physics work. It’s not that. It’s a real thing, but it’s very difficult to explain because it’s a huge mass of stuff spread through the universe that we can’t see. (Go to Caltech again for a real explanation) We can, however see the effects of it.

The effects of what we now call dark matter were first seen in the 1930s. The astrophysics community really jumped into the subject in the 1980s and by now it’s essentially considered to be as confirmed as something can be given our current technological state.

Putting the two together

So here’s my question: If we can’t see dark matter with electromagnetic observations, could we perhaps see it in the gravity spectrum? LIGO is, by some accounts, the most sensitive observation device ever created by humans, but it is still in its infancy. Is it possible that a decade or three hence, that we will be able to use the progeny of LIGO to directly see dark matter, rather than just see the effects of it as we can now?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Duane Benson

And, while you are pondering dark matter and gravity as a spectrum, jump to our quote page and see what it will take to have us assemble those PC boards that you’re supposed to be working on right now.