Washington, Feb 2 : A new research by astronomers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, has shown that the enigmatic dark matter and its counterpart dark energy present in the universe, might be more closely linked than previously believed. According to the research, carried out by Dr HongSheng Zhao of the University's School of Physics and Astronomy, this finding will help to shed new light on these two mysterious components of the universe.
Astronomers believe that both the universe and galaxies are held together by the gravitational attraction of a huge amount of unseen material, commonly referred to as dark matter.
While the known material comprises only 4% of the universe, the other 96% is traditionally labelled into two sectors, dark matter and dark energy.
Though little has been known about these cosmic elements, researchers have now hypothesized that both dark energy and dark matter are different forms of the same thing.
According to Dr Zhao, "Dark energy has already revealed its presence by masking as dark matter 60 years ago if we accept that dark matter and dark energy are linked phenomena that share a common origin."
"Both dark matter and dark energy could be two faces of the same coin," he added.
In Dr Zhao's model, dark energy and dark matter are simply different manifestations of the same thing, which he has considered as a 'dark fluid'. On the scale of galaxies, this dark fluid behaves like matter and on the scale of the Universe overall as dark energy, driving the expansion of the Universe.
Importantly, this model, unlike some similar work, is detailed enough to produce the same 3:1 ratio of dark energy to dark matter as is predicted by cosmologists.
"As astronomers gain understanding of the subtle effects of dark energy in galaxies in the future, we will solve the mystery of astronomical dark matter at the same time," said Dr Zhao.
"No matter what dark matter and dark energy are, these two phenomena are likely not independent of each other," he added.