Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Evidence For Dark Dwarf Galaxies Supports Dark Matter Theory

Date:
May 21, 2002
Source:
University Of California - San Diego
Summary:
Two scientists have found evidence that galaxies are surrounded by halos containing hundreds of invisible dwarf galaxies. Their discovery, described in a paper in the June 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, provides strong support for the theory that most of the matter in the universe is in the form of some undetected type of slowly moving particles called cold dark matter.

Two scientists have found evidence that galaxies are surrounded by halos containing hundreds of invisible dwarf galaxies. Their discovery, described in a paper in the June 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal, provides strong support for the theory that most of the matter in the universe is in the form of some undetected type of slowly moving particles called cold dark matter.

Astrophysicists Neal Dalal of the University of California, San Diego, and Christopher Kochanek of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, based their conclusion on an analysis of the gravitational lensing of light from distant galaxies by intervening galaxies. According to Einstein's theory of gravity, large concentrations of matter such as galaxies can warp the surrounding space and bend the light from distant galaxies in much the same way that a glass lens can bend light.

One consequence of gravitational lensing is that the image of a single galaxy can be split into two or more images. The number and appearance of these multiple images depend on the distribution of mass in the lensing galaxies. In particular, if a lensing galaxy is surrounded by many smaller dwarf galaxies, the brightness of one of the lensed images could be significantly enhanced if it were aligned with one of the dwarf galaxies.

Dalal and Kochanek performed a statistical analysis of 7 different lensing galaxies which had each split the light of a background galaxy into 4 images of varying brightness. They found that about 2 percent of the mass of the lensing galaxies must be in the form of dwarf galaxies in order to explain the observed brightness variations among the multiple images of the background galaxies. Their study could help vindicate a model for the formation of galaxies in the eons after the Big Bang. A growing body of evidence indicates that from 80 to 90 percent of the matter in the universe is in the form of an as yet unknown type of elementary particle that contributes to gravity through its mass but otherwise interacts weakly with normal matter composed of protons and neutrons.

The currently favored form of dark matter is cold dark matter, so-called because the particles are assumed to move slowly, making it easier for gravity to pull them together to form galaxies. A firm prediction of this model is that large galaxies such as our Milky Way Galaxy should have numerous small satellite galaxies around them. The failure of astronomers to find the predicted swarms of dwarf galaxies around large galaxies has led a number of scientists to call for the abandonment of the cold dark matter model.

"The lack of observed satellite galaxies around large galaxies has been a major point in the prosecution of the case against cold dark matter," said Dalal. "Our result can be regarded as a major vindication of the model."

One puzzle remains as to why the dark dwarf galaxies contain few or no stars, if 10 to 20 percent of their mass is in the form of normal matter. "It's difficult to hide that much material," said Dalal. "Perhaps most of the gas was stripped from the dwarfs when the galaxy was formed."

Their research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, Smithsonian Institution and the ARCS Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - San Diego. "New Evidence For Dark Dwarf Galaxies Supports Dark Matter Theory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020521072151.htm>.
University Of California - San Diego. (2002, May 21). New Evidence For Dark Dwarf Galaxies Supports Dark Matter Theory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020521072151.htm
University Of California - San Diego. "New Evidence For Dark Dwarf Galaxies Supports Dark Matter Theory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020521072151.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) NASA reported the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, on August 24th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins