Dark matter is a hypothetical type of matter distinct from ordinary matter such as protons, neutrons, electrons, and neutrinos.

Dark matter has never been directly observed; however, its existence would explain a number of otherwise puzzling astronomical observations. The name refers to the fact that it does not emit or interact with observable electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum.

Although dark matter has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from unexplained mass in gravitational lensing calculations, which affects the motions of baryonic matter and light.It influences the universe’s large-scale structure, the formation of galaxies, and affects the cosmic microwave background.

The standard model of cosmology indicates that the total mass–energy of the universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. Dark matter constitutes 84.5% of total mass, while dark energy plus dark matter constitute 95.1% of total mass–energy content. The great majority of ordinary matter in the universe is also unseen. Visible stars and gas inside galaxies and clusters account for less than 10% of the ordinary matter contribution to the mass-energy density of the universe.The most widely accepted hypothesis on the form for dark matter is that it is composed of weakly interacting massive particles, WIMPs, that interact only through gravity and the weak force. The dark matter hypothesis plays a central role in current modeling of cosmic structure formation, galaxy formation and evolution, and on explanations of the anisotropies observed in the cosmic microwave background, CMB. All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, galaxy clusters, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which is observable via electromagnetic signals. Many experiments to detect proposed dark matter particles through non-gravitational means are under way; however, no dark matter particle has been conclusively identified.

Although the existence of dark matter is generally accepted by most of the astronomical community, a minority of astronomers, motivated by the lack of conclusive identification of dark matter, or by observations that don’t fit the model, argue for various modifications of the standard laws of general relativity, such as MOND, TeVeS, and conformal gravity that attempt to account for the observations without invoking additional matter.

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