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New Galaxy Discovered, Made Purely Out of Dark Matter

Aug 26, 2016 12:51 AM EDT
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Researchers have made another amazing discovery. Thanks to a powerful telescope, a nearby galaxy has been discovered which is composed of pure dark matter. The said galaxy's existence would help researchers learn more about the properties of the mysterious element, which makes up 27 percent of the universe.

Scientists have yet to actually detect or acquire dark matter, but study suggests it certainly exists. In fact, the latest galaxy discovered is proof that dark matter is indeed existent. Dragonfly 44, the newly discovered galaxy made up of 99.99 percent dark matter, is reportedly 300 million light years away.

Dragonfly 44 has the same mass as the Milky Way, but fewer stars. Researchers claim that the lack of stars proves that the galaxy is dark enough to have been hidden away for years. Another discovery made, it wasn't just the galaxy that was made of dark matter - the tiny dwarf galaxies within it are also composed of the same element.

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by a group of astronomers at Hawaii's WM Keck Observatory. They had spotted Dragonfly 44 as part of the Coma Cluster. Upon close inspection of the galaxy, they knew something was holding the galaxy together and it wasn't just the mass of the stars. Astronomers concluded that it could be dark matter.

"In the Dragonfly galaxy stars move very fast," stated Peter van Dokkum, lead author. "So there was a huge discrepancy: using Keck Observatory, we found many times more mass indicated by the motions of the stars, than there is mass in the stars themselves. We thought that that ratio of matter to dark matter was something we understood. We thought the formation of stars was kind of related to how much dark matter there is, and Dragonfly 44 kind of turns that idea on its head. It means we don't understand, kind of fundamentally, how galaxy formation works."

Van Dokkum along with his team hope to discover more of these galaxies to further enlighten them on the study of dark matter. In fact, they hope to find a galaxy made 100 percent of dark matter which would hopefully give them the evidence they need.

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