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LUX dark matter detector

Detecting dark matter

The kind of matter and energy we can see and touch – whether it is in the form of atoms and molecules, or heat and light, only forms a tiny proportion of the content of the Universe, only about 5%. Over a quarter is dark matter, which is totally invisible but whose gravitational attraction can be detected; while over two thirds is dark energy, a force that pushes the Universe to expand ever faster.
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SN 2014J in colour

27 January 2014

SN 2014J

Last week, UCL students along with their lecturer, Dr Steve Fossey, discovered one of the closest and brightest supernovae in recent decades.

Their image, taken at the University of London Observatory (UCL's teaching observatory in North London), showed a bright spot of light on a greyscale image of the galaxy M 82, which was taken through a red filter.

In the following days, Fossey and his colleagues have made additional observations using different coloured filters, allowing them to make a colour composite of the galaxy with its supernova, which is catalogued as SN 2014J.

SN 2014J location

In this closeup, the arrow points out the location of the supernova, which was caused by an unstable white dwarf star pulling material of a larger neighbour until it exploded.

Photo credit: UCL/University of London Observatory/Steve Fossey/Ian Howarth/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew Wilde/Thomas Wright

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High resolution image

This image can be reproduced freely providing the source is credited

Page last modified on 27 jan 14 13:30