Dark Matter Simulator
This year, in addition to our Dark Matter Scavenger Hunt , we wanted to provide an interactive activity that anyone around the world could participate in.
One of our chapter members, Sam, produced a gravity simulator* for finding hidden “massive objects” like Dark Matter.
Link to Simulator: Dark Matter Search
The premise is quite simple, somewhere in space is a cluster of Dark Matter. You can’t see it because… well… it’s dark!
Dark Matter doesn’t interact with light, but it does have gravitational effects that can be seen on nearby objects.
The simulator places random stars (points of light) on the screen. Each star has a mass and will produce gravitational effects. Somewhere else on the screen is the hidden cluster of Dark Matter. To find the Dark Matter, click anywhere on the screen to drop a “particle” of mass and watch to see how it moves under the influence of gravity.
Consider the following questions:
How do the particles moves as they get close to a star?
Would the particles move in a similar fashion if they get close to the Dark Matter?
By placing particles at different positions on the screen, see if you can find the location of the Dark Matter.
(The Dark Matter will show itself if you click on its location)
See if you can find the Dark Matter using as few particles as possible.
If you can’t find it, just click on “Give Up” at the top left of the screen to see were the Dark Matter was and play another round of the game.
*The simulator uses the physics of gravity as we currently understand it. For all we know, we could be wrong about gravity. But that’s the great thing about science, the more research and experimentation we do, the better our understanding of how the universe work!