Dark matter is not only a great name for a 1970s progressive rock band, it is what most of the universe is made of. Although this substance makes up an estimated 80% of everything that exists in the known cosmos, no one really actually knows what it is. That’s why they call it “dark matter,” because we have not been able to really actually observe it. How do we know that it is actually there, then? Good question and science has an answer: we can tell that it is there because of the effect that it has on all the stuff that we can observe, like light (the traditional opposite of dark). Since we can’t actually yet observe it to figure out what’s going on with it, we have to come up with some theories, and here’s a new one: dark matter is another dimension pushing into our own.
This may sound very dramatic, but dimensions and dark matter and time and space are exactly what science is all about on this level. In this case, a new study published in Physical Review Letters concerns a kind of particle known as “gravitons.” These gravitons essentially popped into existence at about the time of the Big Bang (ie, the hypothesized beginning of the known universe) and may in fact be gravity from another dimension manifesting itself in our own dimensional structure. This is getting pretty heady, so we will break it down a little bit. As stated before, we do not currently have the ability to examine dark matter, even though most of the universe seems to be filled with it. Dark matter does not interact with most forms of matter and passes right through it (including probably yourself right now, which is pretty freaky), but we can tell it is there because its presence affects light in much the same way as gravity, bending it in subtle ways.
In short, gravity is a big one in determining what is there when you can’t see anything. Dark matter has a pretty big gravitational effect and it seems extremely similar to what these gravitons do as well. So much so, in fact, that the authors of the study (Giacomo Cacciapaglia of the University of Lyon in France and Korea University physicists Haiying Cai and Seung J. Lee) theorize that dark matter is actually the physical representation of the force of gravity from a dimension that we do not fully understand as of yet.
All of this dark matter theory is of course extremely theoretical, but so is everything in science until we actually get some confirmation. It is also one of the best explanations for what this seemingly-unknowable, invisible substance that constantly surrounds us is, so pretty good on that too. Given that we generally consider other dimensions impinging on our own to be some Stranger Things kind of business, we will generally take the innocuous, omnipresent substance over tentacles and Mind Flayers, thanks. Speaking of which, Stranger Things season four is out on May 27, everybody! Be careful of other dimensions.