If you wonder how Science! can know facts about distant objects likes black holes and quasars, it’s that we come at it from a number of different angles and make sure it all adds up. For instance, if we want to check the mass of a distant galaxy, we estimate it based on its brightness versus known masses of stars. Then we estimate the mass of the galaxy based on the galaxy rotation curve (orbital velocity of stars versus distance from the center of the galaxy). And those two should match.
Except they don’t. In fact, it’s not even close. Like we get a number around twenty times bigger looking at the galaxy’s rotation. So basically, the matter we can see only accounts for around 5% of the universe, and the rest is… well… invisible.
Yeah, I know what you laymen are thinking: “Silly scientists! You just forgot to carry to one and are making a big deal about it! It’s like me thinking there are invisible cheeseburgers because the amount of money in my register didn’t match sales at the end of my shift at Wendy’s.”
No, we’ve like checked this a million times. We’d love to say it’s just a math error, but the only conclusion we can come to is we can’t find most of the universe. This “dark matter” (transparent, really) is most of existence and we don’t have a friggin’ clue where it is. And most of it is nonbaryonic, which means it contains no atoms and does not interact with normal matter.
No! That does not mean it’s imaginary! It’s not Snuffaluffagus matter. It’s just invisible and can’t be felt, but it is totally there. Just look at galaxy rotation curves or galaxies’ velocity dispersion or apply the viral theorem; we’re missing a lot of mass, and it is very frustrating. I know Science! will make it clear eventually, but it’s hard to just push out of our minds right now.
Anyway, if you see any mass that’s unaccounted for, please go to your nearest Sciencetorium and report it. And, as I have to keep explaining to you laymen, be as descriptive as possible. Just saying, “It was big!” doesn’t help us.