Dark Matter Galaxy

Cardiff astronomers, using the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank, claim to have found the first 'dark matter galaxy'. It is currently thought (unless you play with MOND) that when we look at galaxies, we only see about 10% of the matter; we can see stars, hydrogen and dust but the rotation of a galaxy - as measured via the doppler effect - seems to imply that there should be about 10 times as much mass. The matter that we can't see with telescopes is termed dark matter for obvious reasons.

The new galaxy was first seen in 2000 during the multibeam measurements with the 76m Lovell telescope. The folks down at Cardiff have spent the last five years ruling out all the other possible explanations they can think of. They used the Issac Newton Telescope in La Palma to check if they could see a visible galaxy (i.e. stars) but nothing showed up in the location of the radio galaxy. The total hydrogen content is quoted as 100 million Suns which is equivalent to about a 1000th the mass of our galaxy. The explanation for no star formation is that the density is too low.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 23rd Feb 2005 (15:10 UTC) | Permalink
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