Twinkling Black Holes Reveal an Invisible Cloud in Our Galaxy

Cosmic radio backlights are helping scientists size up “missing” forms of matter and might offer clues about what makes up the universe.

At first, Yuanming Wang was not excited. More relieved, maybe. The first -year astrophysics PhD student at the University of Sydney sat in front of her computer, looking at images in which she’d found the signs of radio waves from distant galaxies twinkling, just as she had hoped. But because Wang’s discovery relied more on scouring ones and zeros than peering through a telescope—and the discovery itself was just plain weird—it took awhile for the moment to hit.

Radio wave “twinkling,” known as scintillation, happens

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