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Space & Astronomy

'Ghost' galaxy has virtually no dark matter

By T.K. Randall
March 31, 2018 · Comment icon 8 comments

This galaxy has some rather unusual properties. Image Credit: Hubble / NASA / Pieter van Dokkum
The discovery raises new questions about the formation of galaxies and the nature of dark matter.
The existence of this enigmatic form of matter, which is thought to account for up to 85% of the mass of the universe, remains one of the most important unsolved mysteries in modern physics.

Astrophysicists have long believed that dark matter played an important role in the formation of galaxies in the early universe, meaning that it should be common pretty much everywhere.

Finding a galaxy without any dark matter however means that something else must be going on.

"Finding a galaxy without dark matter is unexpected because this invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of galaxies," said lead author Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University.
"The idea is that dark matter is not just an object inside a galaxy but it helps form the galaxy."

The galaxy in question, NGC 1052-DF2, is situated 65 million light years away in the constellation Cetus. In addition to its lack of dark matter, this galaxy also seems to have an unusually low mass.

"It's about the size of the Milky Way... but it has very few stars," said Professor van Dokkum.

"It has about 200 times less stars than the Milky Way."

The search for answers continues.

Source: | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Except that is all stuff we CAN see. We night not be able to dust, asteroids comets, etc all give off infrared light. We may not be able to see them individually but they are anything but dark, hence we know how much of that stuff there is and it is no where near enough. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Susanc241 6 years ago
I am no scientist, let alone an astrophysicist, but could it be possible that dark matter is what existed before the supposed Big Bang?  That the universe exploded into an infinity of dark matter?  If someone could explain in layman's terms why this might or might be possible I would really be interested to hear.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Fila 6 years ago
I assumed dark matter was like oil. The universe a container. Reactions happen inside the container.., but the oil kinda holds everything in place, or pushes back like gravity. But yea.., I have no idea either. Cool topic.
Comment icon #4 Posted by fred_mc 6 years ago
I find dark matter fascinating. It makes me think of psychics and spiritists talking about different realities with different vibration levels. Wonder if dark matter is related to that, after all it is a kind of "ghost world" since we can't see it and it just passes through ordinary matter without interacting with it. I'm also thinking that if dark matter only interacts with us through gravity, perhaps there are other "worlds" that don't interact with us at all, not even through gravity, in other words they would be totally impossible for us to detect.
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker 6 years ago
I wonder if this may mean that the amount of dark matter versus galaxy mass isn't linear?  Has there been studies done on smaller globular galaxies, and did they match the larger galaxies for the ratio of dark matter?  
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Firstly there isn't an infinity of dark matter, there is a finite amount of it. No one knows what it is, but they no what it isn't. It isn't normal matter that gives off visible or infrared radiation, so it can't be seen. It does however have mass. Because we can see ordinary matter we can determine how much of it there is an a distant galaxy. Because we have a good understanding of gravity we can determine how much mass they have. The two figures don't match. 80% of the stuff that makes up the universe is missing, this is dark matter. Because the dark matter is not distributed evenly through ... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by keithisco 6 years ago
I guess if there is a finite amount of dark matter then it will be reducible to mathematical proofs? Cant say that I have seen one yet. If dark matter exists then we know some (not all) of the properties that it does NOT have-in truth , all we are left with currently is trying to prove a negative. The late  Prof. James Paul Wesley had some very interesting theories about the need for dark matter to even exist.
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker 6 years ago
Interesting article... Basically they think they've proven that Dark Matter only interacts with our visible universe by way of gravity.

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