Distant galaxy void of dark matter found

ANI | Updated: Mar 29, 2018 19:02 IST

Washington D.C [U.S] Mar 29 (ANI): In a recent discovery, researchers uncovered a galaxy, known as NGC1052-DF2 that lacks the enigmatic substance known as the dark matter, which is generally considered as an essential ingredient in the birth of galaxies.

After some calculations, the Yale University researcher found that all the mass in the galaxy could be attributed to the visible stars, gas and dust. There was essentially no remaining room in this galaxy for dark matter.

According to lead author Pieter van Dokkum, finding a galaxy without dark matter was unexpected because the invisible, mysterious substance was the most dominant aspect of any galaxy.

"For decades, we thought that galaxies start their lives as blobs of dark matter. After that everything else happens: gas falls into the dark matter halos, the gas turns into stars, they slowly build up, then you end up with galaxies like the Milky Way. NGC1052-DF2 challenges the standard ideas of how we think galaxies form," he added.

To peer even deeper into this unique galaxy, the team used the Gemini-North Multi Object Spectrograph (GMOS) to capture detailed images of NGC1052-DF2, assess its structure, and confirm that the galaxy had no signs of interactions with other galaxies.

The team's results demonstrate that dark matter is separable from galaxies.

"This discovery shows that dark matter is real - it has its own separate existence apart from other components of galaxies," said van Dokkum.

The team continues the hunt for more dark-matter-deficient galaxies. They are analyzing Hubble images of 23 other diffuse galaxies. Three of them appear to share similarities with NGC1052-DF2, which van Dokkum plans to follow up on in the coming months at Keck Observatory.

"Every galaxy we knew about before has dark matter and they all fall in familiar categories like spiral or elliptical galaxies," van Dokkum said. "But what would you get if there were no dark matter at all? Maybe this is what you would get."

The analysis and findings are published in the journal - Nature. (ANI)