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Johan Hidding / Flickr

We know how much total matter is in the universe, including "normal" matter (things like stars, planets, you, me) and more mysterious "dark" matter. However, only about 10% of the normal matter has been accounted for in surveys of galaxies. Astronomers have long suspected the missing matter sits in threads of gas between galaxies, but it's hard to detect because it's very tenuous.

What's new: Researchers now report spotting about 30% of the missing matter by looking for its shadow in the cosmic microwave background — the afterglow of the big bang itself. The background light filters through the gas and gets bumped up to higher energies through collisions with the hot particles, leading to a subtly higher observed temperature between galaxies.

Why it matters: While it doesn't completely solve the mystery of the missing matter, the research may help us paint a fuller family portrait of the universe. By understanding what it's made of, we can learn more about its past and future evolution.

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Philanthropy Deep Dive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A look at how philanthropy is evolving (and why Dolly Parton deserves a Medal of Freedom).

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
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A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months: