The Hubble Telescope just found something odd out there in space. It is a brand new galaxy dubbed NGC 1052-DF2 and it is known as an ultra diffuse galaxy. The unique thing is that this discovery challenges the current scientific theories of how galaxies are formed because there seems to be little or no dark matter.
A GALAXY WITH NO DARK MATTER IS UNUSUAL
Science has never seen dark matter, but we know something is there. Dark matter is a type of matter that could make up to 85% of all known matter in the universe.Even though we have never observed it we can observe what it affects - kind of like seeing a shadow but not seeing what is casting the shadow.
This new galaxy is very faint and is roughly the same size as our own Milky Way galaxy, but with significantly fewer stars. This is significant because up until now scientists and astronomers believed that every galaxy forms from dark matter and the absence of it actually proves that it does really exist.
"Finding a galaxy without dark matter is unexpected because this invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of any galaxy," said Dr. Pieter van Dokkum from Yale University. He went on, "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. NGC 1052-DF2 challenges the standard ideas of how we think galaxies form."
Scientists might have a new way to detect dark matter using the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope. One theory suggests that when two dark matter particles crash into each other they could release gamma rays. The Fermi Telescope could detect these collisions, which would appear as a burst of gamma rays. But because the telescope has not been in space for too long, scientists do not yet have enough data to know if this is true or not.
Pretty mysterious stuff. Thankfully, the only dark matter that we have observed is The World's Strongest Coffee.
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