Pasadena – Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) published on Thursday a paper in the Astrophysical Journal Letters where claimed they have discovered a nearby galaxy that may have the highest concentration of dark matter ever found.

Researchers discovered a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way called Triangulum II, which only has 1000 stars, much less from the approximately 100 billion in our galaxy.  The astronomers conducted the difficult work of weighing the small galaxy. The numbers suggest the dwarf galaxy is full of dark matter.

New Galaxy found
New Galaxy found by astronomers from Caltech has the highest concentration of dark matter ever found. Photo:

“The galaxy is challenging to look at, only six of its stars were luminous enough to see with the Keck telescope.” lead researcher Evan Kirby, an assistant profess of astronomy at Caltech, said in a news release.

Even though dark matter is thought to fill around 80 per cent off the universe, it can’t be seen, its existence can be only intimated by the behavior of visible matter within the dominion of the dark matter’s influence.

The total mass the astronomers measured was much bigger than the mass of the total number of starts implying that there’s a ton of densely packed dark matter contributing to the total mass, Kirby explained in their paper.

In their paper the researchers propose that the mysterious, unseen matter may cause the particular low star count of Triangulum II.

Scientists are still trying to determine how dark matter interacts with the rest of the universe. This discovery of ample dark matter in the star-system Triangulum II could be a game-changer for the field of astrophysics.

Another group of research from the University of Strasbourg in France has disputed Kirby’s conclusions. They have suggested that the small galaxy is being torn apart by the Milky Way, which would be evidenced by stars on the edge of the galaxy moving faster than those in the middle and could mix-up the kind of analysis Kirby relied on.

Source: CaltechAuthors