Galaxy X and Dark Matter May Have Been Discovered by Astronomers

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Galaxy X and dark matter may have been located by astronomers in the disk of the Milky Way galaxy. Recently, astronomers have been speculating about the presence of additional planets in the Solar System. They have been looking in the areas behind Jupiter, Saturn and abyss beyond Pluto.  Although hunters of new worlds have set their sights on a new objective, they believe they have found a dark-matter-dominated-galaxy.

According to astronomers, since 2009, they have been observing strange ripples in hydrogen gas located in the outer regions of the disk of the Milky Way. They explained that the strange ripples are a result of the immense gravity of an unseen dwarf galaxy which harbors large amounts of dark matter. Scientists have now dubbed this dwarf galaxy with the aforementioned name: Galaxy X.

Sunanya Chakrabarti, a scientist at the Rochester Institute of Technology, led a study to find out the cause of these ripples in hydrogen gas. Their observation points to a small cluster of four young, vibrant stars that are located roughly 300,000 light-years from Earth. She stated these stars may in fact be the location for Galaxy X. Chakrabarti and her team published their findings in the Astrophysical Journal Letters last week.

She explained that her research team attempted to observe stellar objects in the disk of the Milky Way. However, it was difficult to ascertain single objects of prediction from the team because it was near the plane of the galaxy. Since they were not able to get full optic readings of the hypothesized galaxy, they believe the phantom Galaxy X is a satellite galaxy that is too faint to view. This would explain the instance of dark matter dominating the galaxy’s existence.

Dark matter is the mysterious, shadow-like substance that has yet to be detected by scientists. It is the equal opposite of normal matter. All charges in the subatomic spectrum of dark matter are negative, respective of its normal matter counterpart. Though it is currently undetectable, the best guesses from limited data suggest that it is a fairly large contributor to the full mass of the Universe.

The research team found the cluster of four stars that are known as Cepheid variable stars. Cepheid variable stars are stellar bodies that engage in radial pulsation. This means that they vary in temperature and solar diameter to equal a luminosity that is taken at an average from its periods of stability and periods of maximum oscillation and pulsation. Cepheid variable stars are used as a point of reference and marker by astronomers to measure massive distances across the cosmos.

They analyzed data collected by the European Southern Observatory’s survey (VISTA). The telescope uses infrared technology to allow astronomers to gaze into uncharted territories close to the inaccessible plane of the Milky Way. The cluster of stars were located in the region of Norma, a southern constellation. Chakrabarti stated that most of these types of stars are located near the plane of the Milky Way.

Her team believes the star cluster is associated with the hypothesized dark matter dwarf galaxy – Galaxy X – predicted in her original analysis of the outer rim of the Milky Way galaxy. Moreover, the study completed had specified a location and mass for Galaxy X. Radiation measured from the stars allowed Chakrabarti to calculate an accurate distance from her prediction. She stated that these young stars are most likely the mark of the unseen galaxy. Furthermore, she said that Galaxy X is undoubtedly not a part of the Milky Way galaxy because the diameter of the Milky Way terminates at 48,000 light-years.

The detection of the Cepheid variables and the methods used therein, allows Chakrabarti’s predictions about the dark matter galaxy to show that the understanding of how dark matter works is evolving. It also shows how Newton’s theory of gravity can be used to understand what is beyond the furthest reaches of the galaxy. By this reasoning, Galaxy X – the dark matter galaxy – may have been discovered by astronomers.

By: Alex Lemieux


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Picture: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center – Flickr License