Galaxy void of dark matter baffles astronomers

Galaxy void of dark matter baffles astronomers

A galaxy is much more than a radiant agglomeration of stars.

Dark issue as well as galaxies typically go together. Finding such a thing would be like finding smoke but no fire, effect without cause. "It's like you take a galaxy and also you just have the excellent halo and also globular collections, as well as it in some way neglected to earn whatever else", kept in mind van Dokkum.

Theories that challenge dark matter's existence will need to explain away the new claim about galaxy NGC 1052-DF2 to survive. The galaxy is as large as our Milky Way, but it had escaped attention because it contains only 1/200th the number of stars. Using these velocities, they calculated the galaxy's mass and determined that the visible stars, gas and dust in DF2 accounted for most of the mass and that there was only 1/400th the amount of dark matter expected.

The absence of this mysterious stuff in NGC 1052-DF2, described Wednesday in the journal Nature, could shed light on galaxy formation and help scientists narrow down what dark matter actually is.

You see something like this, and you do sort of scratch your head. "It's a problem for nearly every theory that's out there".

Scientists now think that dark matter is essential to the fabric of the universe. Astronomers think that dark matter is needed to form galaxies. Because there's some regular issue right here, any kind of variation of customized gravity would certainly have that issue generate dark-matter-like impacts.

Van Dokkum and his colleagues used the Dragonfly Telephoto Array to track the motion of 10 known star clusters to determine how massive the galaxy is. The researchers initially used Dragonfly to study a different galaxy, one appearing to possess an nearly inconceivably gargantuan amount of dark matter, which was a weird result in and of itself. "It's not something we were looking for or expecting". They can't agree on what it's made of, how much a single particle weighs, or the best way to construct a Play-Doh diorama of it. Based on the colors of its globular clusters, the galaxy is about 10 billion years old.

Ordinarily, not the greater part of a galaxy's mass is obvious.

The team is already hunting for more dark-matter deficient galaxies.

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Dark matter's existence is inferred from the motion of objects affected by its gravitational pull.

The clusters, they found, travelled at the same speed as the galaxy, itself moving through the Universe. These astronomers say their finding has broad implications for our understanding of the universe. These collaborations, such as LUX-ZEPLIN experiment in South Dakota, the XENON1T experiment in Italy, and the ADMX experiment in Washington, are trying to figure out what dark matter actually is made of, and they look to astronomical observations to guide their detector designs.

Scientists have various theories on how this galaxy came to be. In another, an enormous galaxy that's relatively close to DF2 may have somehow influenced the smaller galaxy during its formation.

One outsider suggested that perhaps the "galaxy" Van Dokkum studied is so diffuse that it may not really be a galaxy.

And, yet, scientists using telescopes atop Maunakea found one galaxy that has nearly none at all.

Some 65 million light-years from Earth, NGC1052-DF2 - "DF2" for short - is about the same size as our Milky Way, but has 100 to 1,000 times fewer stars. The galaxy is a complete mystery, as everything about it is odd.

But that doesn't mean the results in this paper provide flawless support for dark matter theories either. "There is no way around it".

"This has been a common experience of mine: When I find something that doesn't make sense in MOND, it usually doesn't make sense in dark matter, either", he wrote. "There might be a change in the ways that gravity works, compared to what Einstein and Newton would have said, but let's not immediately draw conclusions", he says. The astronomers speculate that the birth and formation of DF2 in the dynamic environment of the cluster could have been influenced by the giant galaxy. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope.

"How did we get a gas cloud of that size that was able to form a galaxy, that was able to have enough gravity?" says Risa Wechsler, an astronomer at Stanford University who was not involved in the new research.

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