Astronomy Science Fair Project
What is Dark Matter?

Projects by Grade Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
Home Advanced Award Winning Warning!
Project Information
Title: What is Dark Matter?
Subject: Astronomy / Physics
Grade level: Middle school - grades 7-9
Project Type: Descriptive
Cost: Low
Awards: None
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair

In physics and cosmology, dark matter is hypothetical matter that does not interact with the electromagnetic force, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. According to present observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as Big Bang cosmology, dark matter and dark energy account for the vast majority of the mass in the observable universe. The observed phenomena which imply the presence of dark matter include the rotational speeds of galaxies, orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters, gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters such as the Bullet cluster, and the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Dark matter also plays a central role in structure formation and galaxy evolution, and has measurable effects on the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background. All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which interacts with electromagnetic radiation: the remainder is called the "dark matter component."

The dark matter component has much more mass than the "visible" component of the universe. Only about 4% of the total energy density in the universe (as inferred from gravitational effects) can be seen directly. About 22% is thought to be composed of dark matter. The remaining 74% is thought to consist of dark energy, an even stranger component, distributed diffusely in space. Determining the nature of the missing mass is one of the most important problems in modern cosmology and particle physics. It has been noted that the names "dark matter" and "dark energy" serve mainly as expressions of human ignorance, much as the marking of early maps with "terra incognita".

Dark matter is occasionally described in computer and video games and other works of fiction. In such cases, it is usually attributed extraordinary physical or magical properties. Such descriptions are often inconsistent with the properties of dark matter proposed in physics and cosmology. For example in computer games, Dark Matter is often used as material for making weapons and items.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

Useful Links
Science Fair Projects Resources
Citation Guides, Style Manuals, Reference
General Safety Resources
Electrical Safety FAQ
Astronomy Science Fair Projects

Astronomy Award Winning Projects

Astronomy Experiments


Projects Home
Primary School
Elementary School
Middle School
High School
Easy Projects
Award Winning
Popular Ideas
Branches of Science

Science Fair Project Guide
Science Fair Project Types
The Scientific Method - How to Experiment
The Display Board
Topics, Ideas, Sample Projects

Repeat Famous Experiments and Inventions
Science Jokes Science Trivia
Scientists & Inventors

Read for Free
The Science Fair
A Juvenile Science Adventure Novel
by Julian T. Rubin

Human Abridged Wikipedia Articles

My Dog Kelly

Follow Us On:

Privacy Policy - Site Map - About Us - Letters to the Editor

Comments and inquiries:

Last updated: January 2018
Copyright 2003-2018 Julian Rubin