According to scientists, dark matter accounts for a major portion of all matter in the universe.
However, it’s also the most mysterious.
However, scientists have discovered the second of a pair of galaxies that have been determined to contain little to no dark matter at all. But paradoxically enough, these findings only serve to strengthen the theory of dark matter.
The recent findings were published by Yale researchers and builds upon one other research that was made public last year showing evidence of a galaxy devoid of most, if not all, dark matter.
It’s commonly accepted that dark matter forms a major component of every galaxy in the known universe so finding one that has little to no dark matter is extraordinary. To now find another such galaxy lacking dark matter puts a lot of scientific assumptions under question.
The latest findings were published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University said in a statement about last year’s discovery: “We thought that every galaxy had dark matter and that dark matter is how a galaxy begins.
“This invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of any galaxy. So finding a galaxy without it is unexpected.
“It challenges the standard ideas of how we think galaxies work, and it shows that dark matter is real: it has its own separate existence apart from other components of galaxies…”
The dark matter-less galaxy, named DF4, is also “ultra-diffuse,” meaning it contains 100 to 1,000 times fewer stars than our own galaxy.
“The fact that we’re seeing something that’s just completely new is what’s so fascinating,” said Shany Danieli, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, who first discovered the galaxy about two years ago.
“No one knew that such galaxies existed, and the best thing in the world for an astronomy student is to discover an object, whether it’s a planet, a star, or a galaxy, that no one knew about or even thought about.”
The discovery of both galaxies cuts at the core of a debate about the existence of dark matter. In this case, they support the existence of dark matter.
Since dark matter has never been empirically observed, scientists say that one of the biggest indicators used to hint at the existence of dark matter is that objects at the outskirts of our galaxy move much faster than they should given the levels of normal, and observable, matter.
With the recently discovered galaxies, the objects are moving at a speed one would expect with the mass of normal matter.
“Ironically, the lack of dark matter in these UDGs strengthens the dark matter theory.
“It proves that dark matter is a substance that is not coupled to ‘normal’ matter, as both can be found separately,” said the researchers in a statement.
Needless to say, the search for other such galaxies will continue in order to deepen their understanding of the phenomenon and perhaps unlock some clues to the elusive dark matter.
“Our hope is that this will take us one step further in understanding one of the biggest mysteries in our universe – the nature of dark,” said Danieli.
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