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What is dark matter and why is there an entire galaxy full of it?

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By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
2/1/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Astronomers discover a dark twin of the Milky Way 300 million light years away.

Astronomers think they have discovered a galaxy that is 99.9 percent dark matter. If true, the discovery is unprecedented.

Dragonfly 44 is a dark twin of the Milky Way, it gives off no light, but it's there.

Dragonfly 44 is a dark twin of the Milky Way, it gives off no light, but it's there.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
2/1/2017 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Dragonfly 44, dark matter, galaxy


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Scientists have discovered a galaxy made mostly of dark matter dubbed Dragonfly 44. The galaxy is about the size of the Milky Way and they can see approximately 100 globular clusters orbiting its core. This makes it a virtual twin of the Milky Way in terms of shape and size. There's one major exception, Dragonfly 44 is dark.

According to astronomers, the galaxy is made of 99.9 percent dark matter.


Dark matter is the only way to explain why Dragonfly 44 stays together and its globular clusters don't fly off in multiple directions.

Nobody can quite explain what dark matter is. And while dark matter is believed to be everywhere, including in our own galaxy, nobody has ever seen it or observed it directly. We can only see what dark matter does, based on its gravitational effect, not what it is.

Finding an entire galaxy of dark matter is a remarkable find. Furthermore, there may be other galaxies in the region that are similar in nature. The galaxy is located in the Coma Cluster, and they think there are many more just like it in the cluster.

This is a mystery. Why does this galaxy exist? Why are there several in just one region of the universe? Are there others like this one? If so, then what does this do to our understanding of the universe?

There are no answers yet. Dragonfly 44 will require a lot more study before we begin to grasp what is happening in the corner of the sky where it's placed. Until then, astronomers will marvel at the Milky Way's dark, mysterious twin.

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