"So far we haven't seen any off things, or any deviation from what we expect," Van Waerbeke told SPACE.com.
To create the map, the astronomers used data collected by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii during a five-year project called the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey.
"These lensing maps are very important tests of our cosmological paradigm," said astronomer Rachel Mandelbaum of Carnegie Mellon University and Princeton University, who was not involved in the new study. "These results could be used as a test of dark matter, dark energy and even the theory of gravity."
In a separate study also presented today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Sukanya Chakrabarti of Florida Atlantic University developed a new method of mapping the dark matter in individual galaxies.
Chakrabarti studied ripples on the outskirts of spiral galaxies to trace the shape of the dark matter within and surrounding the galaxies.
This research, targeting the invisible stuff on a much smaller scale than the first study, also helps astronomers hone in on an understanding of dark matter.
"These results with spiral galaxies allow the study of matter in a regime of individual galaxies, which has not been possible with weak lensing," Mandelbaum said. "Both of these results represent two important ways of studying the dark mater, but they're in two very different regimes."
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