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Thread: Dark Matter Mystery Deepens

  1. #1 Dark Matter Mystery Deepens 
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Like all galaxies, our Milky Way is home to a strange substance called dark matter. Dark matter is invisible, betraying its presence only through its gravitational pull. Without dark matter holding them together, our galaxy's speedy stars would fly off in all directions. The nature of dark matter is a mystery -- a mystery that a new study has only deepened.

    "After completing this study, we know less about dark matter than we did before," said lead author Matt Walker, a Hubble Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

    Cosmologists use powerful computers to simulate this process. Their simulations show that dark matter should be densely packed in the centers of galaxies. Instead, new measurements of two dwarf galaxies show that they contain a smooth distribution of dark matter. This suggests that the standard cosmological model may be wrong.

    "Our measurements contradict a basic prediction about the structure of cold dark matter in dwarf galaxies. Unless or until theorists can modify that prediction, cold dark matter is inconsistent with our observational data," Walker stated.

    "If a dwarf galaxy were a peach, the standard cosmological model says we should find a dark matter 'pit' at the center. Instead, the first two dwarf galaxies we studied are like pitless peaches," said Peñarrubia.

    .Dark matter mystery deepens

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