News FocusAstronomy

Where Are the Missing Baryons?

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Science  01 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6085, pp. 1093-1094
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6085.1093

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To describe the universe, you need to know what's in it and where the components reside. So far, astronomers are a long way from completing that inventory. It's not just that they can't pin down dark energy and dark matter, the two invisible components that make up 95% of the cosmos (see pp. 1090 and 1091). More than half of the remaining 5%—"baryonic matter," the ordinary atoms and ions that make up stars, planets, dust, and gas—remains unaccounted for as well.