News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

The Dark Galaxy



Most of the matter in the universe appears to be missing, based on mathematical models that tell scientists there simply has to be more mass out there than we are seeing. Of this, less than two percent appears to be of the type we are all familiar with, the normal matter that makes up visible galaxies, stars, planets, and people.

The remaining and mysterious mass may come in two forms: dark matter and dark energy. Scientists recently discovered what appears to be an invisible galaxy. This galaxy has no visible stars, but radio telescopes have discovered the cold signature of hydrogen clouds. Scientists believe there has to be an even larger constituent of dark matter present (as the regular matter hydrogen is only a small percentage of the entire mass calculated from the object’s rapid rotation.) If this dark matter/cold hydrogen galaxy is confirmed, we could be one step closer to better understanding the composition of the universe.

A test episode entitled “Dark Matter, the Other White Meat – Show #-3 ½” of the upcoming “Slacker Astronomy” podcast describes the finding in amusing detail. Look for the podcast from real astronomers about real astronomy to officially debut in a couple weeks.

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