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I remember being enthralled in astronomy class the first time I heard about “dark matter.” This is the unknown mass out there providing the gravitational stability needed for luminous structures like spiral galaxies. Although thought to be many times larger than the visible matter in the universe, the jury is still out on what dark matter is composed of. Neutrinos must have mass, some people say, referring to the ghostly particles that burst from the guts of stars each time a particle of hydrogen gets cooked into a particle of helium. Others say the lit galactic arrays are surrounded by fields of Jupiter-sized planetary bodies. No, say others still, dark matter is composed of vacuum fluctuations, the sub-atomic particles that leap out of nothingness into existence, and then disappear again a nano-second later, cancelling themselves out. Whatever the reason, dark matter has always appealed to me as a correlate for the hidden emotional material that supports our distinctly eccentric, often unstable, and occasionally luminous personalities.

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