This Galaxy Doesn't Have Dark Matter, and That's Weird

Astronomers perplexed to find that distant galaxy has no dark matter

The ghostly galaxy NGC 1052-DF2 is exceedingly diffuse. So scientists were more than a bit surprised to find a galaxy that has little to no dark matter at all. Most current narratives suggest that because dark matter dominates the universe, slightly denser patches of dark matter would have provided the initial seeds for things to clump together in the early universe and eventually end up as stars and galaxies.

Measurements made with Keck and Gemini Observatory, both on Maunakea, the Hubble Space Telescope and others showed that NGC 1052-DF2, an ultra-diffuse galaxy, followed a different path. "It is literally a see-through galaxy", he added.

Indeed, over the last few years Dokkum and Abraham have used it to uncover a whole new category of sparsely populated "ultra diffuse galaxies" - and sparked a cottage industry as astronomers struggle to explain their unusual properties. This galaxy has very few numbers of stars but a large chunk of them are amalgamated together in bright clusters.

"In modern galaxy formation theory, our understanding is that galaxies form in a dark matter halo", says Stanford University's Risa Wechsler.

"This invisible, mysterious substance is by far the most dominant aspect of any galaxy".

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A galaxy without dark matter-or without some freakish effect of gravity that would mimic dark-matter behavior-would be a very weird thing indeed. "There is no theory that predicts these types of galaxies - how you actually go about forming one of these things is completely unknown", says co-author Allison Merritt from Yale University.

The absence of dark matter from a small patch of sky might appear to be a non-problem, given that astronomers have never directly observed dark matter anywhere. In fact, every galaxy that astronomers have ever studied contains dark matter.

And what about NGC 1052-DF2? That would only make sense if there was no dark matter at all acting on them, a finding confirmed when the researchers subsequently calculated the mass of the galaxy. It is about the size of our own galaxy, but only one-hundredth of its stars, while - unlike ours - it does not have a black hole in its center.

Most paths to explaining NGC 1052-DF2's formation implicate its galactic neighbors. Astronomers know it's there because of its gravitational influence, but they can't detect it any other way.

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

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The galaxy is located 63 million light-years away from our Milky Way.

The researchers suggest that the somewhat-odd appearance of the globular clusters is probably related to the galaxy's unexpected properties, and they announced they're working on a paper that will describe those. Three of them appear similar to NGC 1052-DF2. 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. Imaging them enabled the research study group to establish their activities orbiting the galaxy, which could, consequently, give an action of the quantity of mass that is associated with maintaining the things in position.

We don't really know what dark matter is and why it exists... or why it doesn't.

Speculative explanations include that a collision or cataclysmic event within the galaxy resulted in all the dark matter being swept away. NGC1052-DF2 disproves that theory, providing further evidence to the actual existence of dark matter.

More work has to be done by the team which is conducting this research and after that, the actual occurrence of the galaxy and the non-occurrence of the dark matter will be proved.

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