Galaxy without any dark matter baffles astronomers

Astronomers baffled by distant galaxy that doesn't have any dark matter

Recently, the space scientists unveiled a certain ghostly galaxy that is very unusually transparent and is nearly the same size as the Milky Way.

Based on its its size and brightness, NGC 1052-DF2 is classified as an ultra diffuse galaxy that is larger than the Milky Way, but contains about 250 times fewer stars. That suggests dark matter can be decoupled not only from regular, visible matter, but from entire galaxies-a phenomenon astronomers have never seen until now.

Dark matter is everywhere in the universe, or so we thought.

A team of astronomers has discovered a unique galaxy-the first of its kind-that appears to contain virtually no dark matter.

Galaxy NGC1052-DF2, or DF2, is roughly the size of our own Milky Way galaxy, but has only 1/200 of the stars, according to the experts. Using the amount of light emitted by the galaxy produced an estimate of the total mass of stars in the galaxy that was also in the neighborhood of 10. But those alternative theories require stars in this galaxy to zip at least twice as fast as they were seen moving in this study.

Until now, every known galaxy has been thought to be filled with dark matter, which forms a halo around its galactic host. Or did the growth of the nearby massive elliptical galaxy NGC 1052 billions of years ago play a role in NGC 1052-DF2's dark matter deficiency? The object which has been scientifically named as NGC1052-DF2 seems to have no dark matter at all in its vicinity.

Figuring out how something as big as a galaxy is held together without dark matter will be difficult, but understanding how it formed in the first place will be even harder, he said. The researchers, led by Mr. Peter van Downey of the University of Yale, USA, made the relevant publication in Nature magazine and relayed by the Athenian News Agency. And 10 objects isn't always enough to accurately measure a galaxy's movement."When more data are obtained, sometimes this [amount] proves to have been enough, but sometimes it proves to have been inadequate". It's so sparse that you see all of the galaxies behind it. If dark matter were one of the unexplained effects of the gravity that differentiates it from regular matter, the effect of it would be visible in the galaxy. A 2015 survey of the Coma galaxy cluster showed these large, faint objects to be surprisingly common.

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None of these ideas is a flawless fit for the evidence, van Dokkum said. That stellar sparseness means it does not look much like a typical spiral galaxy, but rather a loosely connected, ghostly blob of star-pocked gas and dust. Using information from the Keck telescopes, the team found the globular clusters were moving much more slowly than expected.

The galaxy was studied by many telescopes (Jemini and Kek Hawaii, Space Hubble, etc.) to cross-check the results. Scientists only know dark matter exists because they can observe how it pushes and pulls things they can see, like stars.

The research team identified a few ways that DF2 may have formed.

The thing about dark matter, or whatever's causing outer space to move so weirdly, is that it's predictably distributed throughout the universe. There's a new idea called emergent gravity that proposes there is no dark matter.

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. "But for now, I think the evidence for dark matter greatly outweighs the evidence against it". They're going to need more study and more time to think on this, though, before they come up with anything concrete. This would allow the gas to form stars away from clumps of dark matter.

"It's not so often you get a true surprise", van Dokkum said.

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