Invisible College II - The Blind Spot
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Astronomers find star-less galaxy
Astronomers say they have discovered an object that appears to be an invisible galaxy made almost entirely of dark matter.
The team, led by Cardiff University, claimed it is the first to be detected.
A dark galaxy is an area in the Universe containing a large amount of mass that rotates like a galaxy, but contains no stars.
It was found 50 million light years away using radio telescopes in Cheshire and Puerto Rico.
The unknown material that is thought to hold these dark galaxies together is known as 'dark matter', but scientists still know very little about what that is.
The five-year research has involved studying the distribution of hydrogen atoms throughout the Universe, estimated by looking at the rotation of galaxies and the speed at which their components moved.
Hydrogen gas releases radiation that can be detected at radio wavelengths.
In the Virgo cluster of galaxies, they found a mass of hydrogen atoms a hundred million times the mass of the Sun. (cont.)
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