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Bonaca's evidence for the dark impactor, which she presented April 15 at the conference of the American Physical Society in Denver, is a series of holes in our galaxy's longest stellar stream, GD-1. Stellar streams are lines of stars moving together across galaxies, often originating in smaller blobs of stars that collided with the galaxy in question.
Under normal conditions, the stream should be more or less a single line, stretched out by our galaxy's gravity, she said in her presentation. Astronomers would expect a single gap in the stream, at the point where the original globular cluster was before its stars drifted away in two directions. But Bonaca showed that GD-1 has a second gap. And that gap has a ragged edge — a region Bonaca called GD-1's "spur" — as if something huge plunged through the stream not long ago, dragging stars in its wake with its enormous gravity.
It's not impossible that there's a second supermassive black hole in our galaxy, Bonaca said. But we'd expect to see some sign of it, like flares or radiation from its accretion disk. And most large galaxies seem to have just a single supermassive black hole at their center.
With no giant, bright objects visible zipping away from GD-1, and no evidence for a hidden, second supermassive black hole in our galaxy, the only obvious option left is a big clump of dark matter. That doesn't mean the object is definitely, 100%, absolutely made of dark matter, Bonaca said. "It could be that it's a luminous object that went away somewhere, and it's hiding somewhere in the galaxy," she added.
But that seems unlikely, in part due to the sheer scale of the object.
This dense ball of unseen something plunging through our Milky Way offers physicists a new scrap of evidence that dark matter might be real. And it would suggest that dark matter is really "clumpy," as most theories about its behavior predict.
originally posted by: gortex
a reply to: putnam6
Not anti-matter but a form of matter we don't yet understand , or even know if it exists.
originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: gortex
Plasma in rarified space can have enormous energy....spread out over a large area.
But i've wondered why plasmas aren't investigated as the perpetrator of "dark matter".
originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: gortex
Although at the macro level we have mathematical equations broadly understanding gravity and its affects, I think there's much more we do not understand. I think gravity is not some side effect property of matter but some kind of force generated by motion between particles.