Missing Matter?

OK, so there has been concern because calculations of the expected amount of matter in the universe have come up shy, right? So they come up with “dark matter” to “make everything ok”. My hypothesis is that we don’t need to justify the missing matter. Why couldn’t the matter have been sucked up into black holes and been destroyed or(and this is a little more edgy) spewed out somewhere else, perhaps even to another time? Do these calculations include this possibility? Can one estimate the amount of matter in a black hole has by its gravitational pull?

“I would far rather be ignorant than wise in the foreboding of evil.”

-Æschylus. 525-456 B. C.

The matter can’t have been destroyed… See Law of Conservation of Matter, e=mc2 law etc…

It has obviously been put into those little styrofoam thingies you get in a big box when you order stuff…

“C’mon, it’s not even tomorrow yet…” - Rupert

If you need a graphic solution, http:\ alk.to\Piglet

Missing matter? Have you checked under the couch cushions?

God is dead. -Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead. -God
Neitzsche is God. -Dead

Aw, crap. Simul-post.

God is dead. -Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead. -God
Neitzsche is God. -Dead

Interestingly enough, this will be a Mailbag topic in a few weeks… soon as SDStaff Karen gets her thoughts down in paper.

When matter falls into a black hole, it just adds itself to the mass of the black hole. So if the black hole weight 20 million tons, and a million-ton asteroid hit it, it would then weigh 21 million tons, just like any other object. I think calculations of normal (non-dark) matter included that which is thought to be in black holes. A Brief History of Time includes theories that black holes can lose mass, but I don’t think even these theories posit black holes losing mass to a different dimension.

As to matter being sucked away to a different dimension, theories about that sort of thing are very vague. I think “dark matter” is preferred as an explanation for missing matter since it doesn’t rely on quite as many hypotheticals as interdimensional travel.

But my head goes all funny when I look at big physics calculations, so y’all should feel free to correct any … funniness in my above wild guess.

Nothing I write about any person or group should be applied to a larger group.

  • Boris Badenov

Something important to point out here: if the matter had somehow been sucked into another universe and destroyed or whatever - the shape and expansion of the universe would be altered. The calculations would be based on different observations, and the amount of ‘missing’ matter would be much smaller (assuming a fairly consistent rate of loss) In other words, we wouldn’t miss it.

The evidence that there is missing matter comes mainly from the rotation of galaxies. The don’t spin right (I mean, correctly). The best way to explain why the outer stars are going faster than they ought is to posit the existence of nearby gravity. But from whence?

It isn’t the mass in black holes, because they aren’t scattered around galaxies in the way that’s needed.

Now, wise guy, I know you’re asking, “how do we know black holes aren’t there – you can’t see them!”

Well, 1) You can see them, they do emit some radiation from the heating up of the things falling in them; 2) You can see them from the Hawking radiation they emit (albeit, theoretically); and 3) You can see them when they block out the view of other stars – they’re black, not invisible.


BigRory, actually, the normal laws of physics i.e. the law of conservation of energy/matter don’t always apply near the singularity. If you’re familiar with quantum foam, matter and energy seem to come together in a way that is not fully understood. Perhaps “destroyed” was a bad word to use.
Cooper, exactly my point. It should be altered, and seems to be huh?
Moriah, I am familiar with the methods of detecting of black holes. And, as far as I understand, Hawking radiation is no longer theoretical. If we haven’t witnessed it coming from the event horizon, it can at least be demonstrated by accelerating almost any chunk of matter fast enough or even pair production.
I guess my intention was to suggest(and believe me, I know what a dangerous leap this is)wormholes as a mechanism of matter/energy siphoning; thus explaining the inconsistency of galaxy spin/expansion.

“I would far rather be ignorant than wise in the foreboding of evil.”

-Æschylus. 525-456 B. C.

Uh, BTW, sorry for the lack of breaks between thoughts and poor punctuation. For the first I can say I am still getting used to this MB formatting, for the second, no excuse. :wink:

Hmm. Anyone who understands black holes should be able to use this message board.

Anyhow, don’t look at me. I don’t have anything like the matter with me;. . .

Ray (. . .just because I’m in the dark.)

Yeah, we can imagine it’s possible for wormholes to be allowing mass to move around. But as far as cosmology goes, this is really not worth considering, for two big reasons.

First, though the possible existence of wormholes has been theorized, it’s not thought that they can exist for any length of time in the real universe. To prevent a wormhole from collapsing, even just long enough for a single particle to pass through, it would require it to be “propped open” with certain kinds of exotic materials. We don’t know if such materials can exist, much less whether they occur naturally.

Second, this has no bearing on the unseen mass problem anyway. If a wormhole were posited to exist, and it connected to some other universe (which is currently thought to be impossible), and if it were somehow “sucking” stuff out of our universe into the other, all it would do is remove some amount of mass from its general vicinity. No number of wormholes could uniformly remove enough mass from enough of the universe at high enough speed, for the observed motion of galaxies to match up with the observed amount of “bright” matter.

Democritus said:

You are mistaken. The black hole still has gravity, indicating mass. The Hawking radiation emitted by the black hole until it evaporates equals the total mass. There are conservation laws that are violated like baryon number for one, but not mass-energy.

Virtually yours,


“Cooper, exactly my point. It should be altered, and seems to be huh?”

Uhm, but it is altered towards: more mass than we can see.

The only reason we think there is “missing matter” is because it is altered.

You are starting with the statement “there is missing matter” and suggesting there might not be missing matter. Do you have an alternate explanation then for the velocity and rotation of the galaxies?

Incidentally, within the past couple of years a group using a neutrino detector in Japan has collected some evidence indicating that at least one (and maybe/probably all three) of the different types of neutrinos have mass.

Neutrinos have been considered to be dark matter candidates for quite a while now, but it wasn’t known whether they had mass or not.

AuraSeer, I disagree, I think the wormhole(previously a black hole) could exist long enough to, shall we say, “pinch a loaf” of vast quantities of matter out of our general area of space/time. As for it not being enough to affect galaxy spin, I’d need to see some numbers.

Dr. Matrix, you are still speaking of an area which is outside of or within close proximity to the event horizon. From what I understand of quantum foam(in or very near the singularity) it is not governed by either relativity or quantum mechanics.

Cooper, I am not saying there is no missing matter. I am agreeing that there IS missing matter and trying to explain where it went.

torq, this is where I guess I would need numbers as well, but, even though it looks like neutrinos have mass, I have always been skeptical that they exist in significant number for their puny mass to add up to the amount needed to sway galaxy spin.

Phew… :wink:

“I would far rather be ignorant than wise in the foreboding of evil.”

-Æschylus. 525-456 B. C.

Democritus, I think you’re right. AFAIK, they don’t know what the mass of any of the neutrinos actually is, just that they’re not all the same. However, they did make a guesstimate on the upper limit of the most massive one, and it was a lot less than an electron. And electrons themselves are only about 1/1800 the mass of protons or neutrons, so neutrino mass is probably just a teeny perturbation on the overall mass of a galaxy.

My extremely limited understanding of lepton number conservation laws leads me to believe that there should be roughly the same number of electron antineutrinos as there are electrons… i.e. “a lot.” However, the idea that neutrinos can interconvert seems to me to violate lepton number conservation laws, so I’m interested to see what Karen, who knows a lot more about this than I do, has to say about it.

The conservation of lepton number says that the number of leptons minus the number of anti-leptons is constant. For example if a neutron (non-lepton) decays into a proton (non-lepton) an electron (lepton) and an antineutrino (anti-lepton), lepton number goes from zero to one minus one or zero. If a neutrino converts it is still a lepton and does not affect the lepton number.

Virtually yours,



You really aren’t getting this. The matter has NOT gone anywhere. If it had ‘gone’ somewhere, we would not be missing it! The phrase ‘missing matter’ means that we KNOW there is matter there that is not luminescent - we can’t see it.