(Credit: Sandbox Studio, Chicago)
28 July 2017
This Halloween, prepare for something really, really dark.
On 31 October 2017, the world will come together to celebrate one of the biggest mysteries of our Universe, dark matter, and you can play a part – don’t be left in the dark.
Dark Matter Day will mark the global hunt for dark matter, the huge part of the Universe that scientists’ calculations tell us exists, but that has never been observed.
Everything we can see around us and the matter that scientists can account for makes up just 15 percent of the Universe, the rest is a mystery that researchers across the globe are trying to solve.
Dark Matter Day will tell tales of the unknown about this mysterious mass, at local Dark Matter Day events planned all over the globe by organisations and individuals.
There will be the chance to meet scientists, take part in competitions, and find out about the many experiments all over the globe dedicated to solving this mystery.
In the UK events are already being arranged – here is a selection of the events taking place so far:
Anyone who wants to learn or share information about dark matter—adults, kids, non-scientists, scientists, science institutions and organisations, science educators and communicators can get involved by organizing or attending local Dark Matter Day events on or leading up to October 31, 2017.
Dark Matter Day events could include a tour of a dark matter experiment or science laboratory in your area where they develop matter theories or participate in dark matter research, a dark matter-themed planetarium show or film presentation, a live chat or Q&A, a classroom discussion, a science talk by an individual, or a panel of dark matter experts.
This first-ever Dark Matter Day campaign was conceived by the Interactions Collaboration, a group of science communicators including from STFC, representing the world’s particle physics laboratories.
Dark matter explains how galaxies spin at a faster-than-expected rate without coming apart. Scientists know from these and other space observations that there is “missing” mass—something we can’t see—that makes up an estimated 85 percent of the total mass of the universe. So a big part of the universe is largely unknown to us.
Finding out what dark matter is made of is a pressing pursuit in physics. We don’t yet know if it’s composed of undiscovered particles or whether it requires some other change in our understanding of the universe’s laws of physics. A host of innovative experiments are hunting for the source of dark matter using mile-deep detectors, powerful particle beams, and even space-based and ground-based telescopes.
Revealing dark matter’s true nature will tell us a lot about the origins, evolution, and overall structure in the universe, and will reshape our understanding of physics.
Dark Matter Day events are intended to educate the public about the importance of learning all we can about dark matter to develop a fuller picture of the unseen universe. Focusing more brainpower and scientific resources on dark matter’s mysteries could lead to new ideas and new discoveries.
The Dark Matter Day website includes resources that can help you find and connect with local dark matter experts, plan a programme for a particular audience, and promote and share your events with the world.
Check out some of the website’s offerings:
Members of the Interactions Collaboration want you to be a part of Dark Matter Day. Please send us an email with any questions, comments, or suggestions.
The Interactions Collaboration seeks to support the international science of particle physics and to set visible footprints for peaceful collaboration across all borders. The Dark Matter Day website was developed and is jointly maintained by the Interactions Collaboration, whose members represent the world's particle physics laboratories in Europe, North America, and Asia, with funding provided by science funding agencies of many nations.