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The team, led by Cardiff University, UK, claims it is the first such object 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 England and Puerto Rico.
Very little is known about "dark matter", even though there is much more of it in the cosmos than "normal", or baryonic, matter, which constitutes the visible material from which stars and planets are built.
Using the powerful trick of gravitational lensing, a European and American team of astronomers have constructed an extensive ‘mass map’ of one of the most massive structures in our Universe. They believe that it will lead to a better understanding of how such systems assembled and the key role of dark matter.
Clusters of galaxies are the largest stable systems in the Universe. They are like laboratories for studying the relationship between the distributions of dark and visible matter. In 1937, Fritz Zwicky realised that the visible component of a cluster (the thousands of millions of stars in each of the thousands of galaxies) represents only a tiny fraction of the total mass. About 80-85% of the matter is invisible, the so-called 'dark matter'. Although astronomers have known about the presence of dark matter for many decades, finding a technique to view its distribution is a much more recent development.
Astronomers capture a dwarf galaxy being torn apart in the dark matter halo of a massive galaxy
For the first time, astronomers have found direct evidence of a phenomenon long thought to play an important role in the formation of giant galaxies: the ongoing disruption of a small galaxy as it orbits within the dark matter halo of a much larger galaxy. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope, confirmed by detailed observations at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, show a dwarf satellite galaxy in the process of being torn apart by gravitational forces due to the larger spiral galaxy and its halo of dark matter.
"Although long predicted, direct evidence for plumes of stars being ripped from a dwarf galaxy as it is swallowed up by a giant galaxy has remained elusive. This discovery provides the best evidence to date," said Duncan Forbes, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.
Strong gravitational lensing happens when there is so much mass contrast in the lens that the light rays from a distant source form multiple images. This was first seen in a quasar lensed by a galaxy in 1979. More commonly, the huge dark matter concentrations in clusters of galaxies create typical bending angles of 30 arcseconds, and multiple highly distorted images of a fortuitously aligned background source galaxy.
A site with some nice computer graphics and animations explaining Dark Matter and Dark Energy
Originally posted by noslenwerd
on another note i can't help but laugh at the name of the one telescope... "Very Large Telescope"
What they couldn't think of anything better to call it?
Originally posted by yeahright
StellarX, I don't think you can link directly to that paper. It's actually a word doc that you have to open.
www.cheniere.org... [Tom Bearden, for those that didn't know]
Then scroll down to Dark Matter or Dark Energy
It's a little more than half way down the list.