10:46am

Fri May 27, 2011
The Two-Way

'Mystery Mass' Mystery Partly Solved By Australian College Student

Science isn't our strongest subject, so we hope that some of you and perhaps our friends at the 13.7 blog can add some further insights into the news that Australian college student Amelia Fraser-McKelvie has helped solve a "cosmic mystery of massive dimensions," as The Sydney Morning Herald puts it.

Here's how Australia's ABC News puts it:

"A Melbourne student has discovered a part of the universe that astrophysicists have spent decades trying to find. ... Many have long thought the universe has a greater mass than they can actually see, but have been unable to prove it is there. Ms. Fraser-McKelvie did a targeted X-ray search for the matter and found it."

Fraser-McKelvie, 22, tells the Morning Herald that scientists had theorized about the so-called mystery mass — speculating that it might have "settled in filaments that extend between clusters of galaxies."

This summer (in Australia) during an internship in astrophysics, she analyzed data from X-ray astronomy work and found those filaments.

Now, she tells the Morning Herald, "I feel really lucky."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.