Using data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in northern Chile, astronomers from the University of Toronto have studied the cosmic web in detail and found a large number of elusive atoms – scattered hot gas that accounts for 90% of visible matter, Phys.org reports.
The cosmic web is a network of knots and filaments of hot gas that connects the galaxies in the universe. The atoms are hard to spot because most of them are in the cosmic web in the form of gas so diffuse that there is no more than about one atom per cubic foot of space, which is much less than in any vacuum on Earth.
Hence the missing baryon problem – astronomers expected to see lots of atoms but only found a fraction of them when they added up all the glowing matter they spotted.
The discovery by Canadian scientists and further research will help solve it since astronomers have found a 40 million light year-long filament of scattered hot gas between two clusters of galaxies.