Monday, 16 July, 2018

Astronomers perplexed to find that distant galaxy has no dark matter

3_28_Milky Way Galaxy without any dark matter baffles astronomers
Edmund Robinson | 30 March, 2018, 00:44

A team of astronomers has discovered a unique galaxy-the first of its kind-that appears to contain virtually no dark matter. "For decades, we thought that galaxies start their lives as blobs of dark matter". "So then, if you find a galaxy that appears not to have dark matter, you have to ask, 'How was it formed?'"

According to the release, the results show that dark matter is separable from galaxies. That brought about an approximated mass that was incredibly reduced for a galaxy- like 108 solar masses.

Until now, every known galaxy has been thought to be filled with dark matter, which forms a halo around its galactic host. For instance, dwarf galaxies have 400 times more dark matter than regular matter, whereas a galaxy like the Milky Way has about 30 times less.

Unfortunately, dark matter research is facing a hurdle, as the Trump administration's NASA budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 places the funding of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope in question. It's like finding a body without a skeleton. "It's so sparse that you see all of the galaxies behind it", van Dokkum said.

However, it's still too early to throw out the old rules, says astrophysicist James Bullock of the University of California, Irvine. There's generally a lot a lot more dark issue compared to average things in many galaxies, so the writers wrap up that, "NGC1052- DF2 is exceptionally lacking in dark issue, and also a great prospect for a "baryonic galaxy" with no dark issue at all".

To imagine this process, you can visualize dark matter as a diffuse collection of individual particles-unlike ordinary matter, which clumps into stars and planets.

A new paper, published today (March 28) in the journal Nature, provides compelling evidence that there really is dark matter out there and that modifying the laws of physics wouldn't by itself solve the universe's weight problem.

"It is conventionally believed to be an integral part of all galaxies, the glue that holds them together and the underlying scaffolding on which they are built", said co-author Allison Merritt from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Germany.




The next step is to figure out whether this galaxy is an exception or the norm, says Ostriker.

"Paradoxically, the existence of NGC1052-DF2 may falsify alternatives to dark matter", the authors conclude, noting that those alternatives include both variations of MOND and emergent gravity.

In a paradoxical twist of the sort that makes astrophysics special, NGC 1052-DF2's lack of dark matter is potentially a good thing for the theory as a whole. And 10 objects isn't always enough to accurately measure a galaxy's movement, he said.

"I spent an hour just staring at this image", said lead researcher Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University.

Therefore, researchers were surprised when they uncovered a galaxy that is missing most, if not all, of its dark matter.

Nearly a year later, a team from the Haystack Observatory at MIT reported that they spotted traces of the earliest light in the universe, which are believed to have come from the first stars, which formed about 180 million years after the Big Bang.

They're hoping that these weird objects will help guide theorists like Ostriker and Bullock to better understand what dark matter is.

"Instead we saw the opposite, leading to this remarkable conclusion that there's actually no room for dark matter at all in this thing", van Dokkum says. Even if it means throwing away what little they have.

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