Dark Matter Matters - Poem by Harley White
Dark matter seems to be
What isn't there to be seen
What we see.
They dub it dark since you cannot detect it
Nor can they inspect it
Yet, while it can't be descried
It cannot be denied
For equations that irk
Should dark matter matter,
Would dark matter matter
A titter or twitter,
A transmitter flitter,
A spatter or smatter-
This transparent matter-
To other than fans of the science news
Or hopefuls for lists of physics who's whos?
Like other matters of matter that matter
A pitter or patter, a skitter or scatter,
It has to be plumbed, summed up and summed down,
Verified, clarified, ere it's dumbed down.
One cannot spot it with unaided eyes-
Oh, may the way to explore it be wise!
Some sons and daughters of Mother Earth's waters
And sands of the dreamlands of Father Time
Are trying to fathom celestial history,
Master its mystery, reason and rhyme.
Physicists hunt for dark matter, to move it
With particle accelerators, to prove it
Exists as suspected, from data collected
With outcome expected, eureka! projected...
But let us remember that they call it dark.
How can one discern an invisible quark?
They're searching to learn of this strange seeming stuff,
For knowledge is power- there's never enough...
It's thought our universe has a whole lot of it.
Those who suppose it give info they've got of it...
Dark matter exerts gravitational pull.
It glues stars together, makes galaxies full.
Unlike normal matter it plays hide and seek
And so much of it's interactively weak...
Speaking of such massiveness subatomic,
Its acronym is ironically comic...
With or without this WIMP snicker factor
There's still a detractor or two around...
Though a gamma ray clue may have been found
In the center of our own Milky Way-
Dark matter collisions, that is to say.
A curious mind always digs and delves.
Yet, are we not getting ahead of ourselves?
High fly the dreams of the capped and gowned
To be world-renowned, laureate-crowned...
Breakthroughs in deep outer space astound...
While here on the ground, horrors abound!
Be it phantom or really elusively there,
Dark matter inferred, if ever laid bare,
When we've been interred, with nary a word
To mark our swift passage, might have the last laugh
With 'what fools were mortals! ' for our cenotaph-
'Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
Humans unlocked them, but all was not light.'
< January 2011 >
Poet's Notes about The Poem
In astrophysics, weakly interacting massive particles or WIMPs, are hypothetical particles serving as one possible solution to the dark matter problem.
On the tombstone of Isaac Newton, it says, 'Hic depositum est, quod mortale fuit Isaaci Newtoni, ' which is translatable as 'here is deposited what was mortal of Isaac Newton'.
On the monument adjacent to Isaac Newton's tombstone, these famous words of Alexander Pope appear- 'Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night: / God said, 'Let Newton be! ' and all was light.'
* * * * * * * * *
This rich galaxy cluster, catalogued as CL0024+17, is allowing astronomers to probe the distribution of dark matter in space. The blue streaks near the center of the image are the smeared images of very distant galaxies that are not part of the cluster. The distant galaxies appear distorted because their light is being bent and magnified by the powerful gravity of CL0024+17, an effect called gravitational lensing.
Dark matter cannot be seen because it does not shine or reflect light. Astronomers can only detect its influence by how its gravity affects light. By mapping the distorted light created by gravitational lensing, astronomers can trace how dark matter is distributed in the cluster. While mapping the dark matter, astronomers found a dark-matter ring near the cluster's center. The ring's discovery is among the strongest evidence that dark matter exists.
The Hubble observations were taken in November 2004 by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.
NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)
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