Ghost in the Cosmos: Almost Invisible Galaxy Challenges Dark Matter Model

Mysterious Dark Galaxy Concept

The discovery of Nube, a faint and extended dwarf galaxy, challenges existing astrophysical models. Its unique characteristics might provide new insights into the universe and the nature of dark matter. (Artist’s concept.) Credit:

A group of astrophysicists led by Mireia Montes, a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), has discovered the largest and most diffuse galaxy recorded until now. The study has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, and has used data taken with the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the Green Bank Radiotelescope (GBT).

Nube is an almost invisible dwarf galaxy discovered by an international research team led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in collaboration with the University of La Laguna (ULL) and other institutions.

The name was suggested by the 5-year-old daughter of one of the researchers in the group, and is due to the diffuse appearance of the object. Its surface brightness is so faint that it had passed unnoticed in the various previous surveys of this part of the sky, as if it were some kind of ghost. This is because its stars are so spread out in such a large volume that “Nube” (the Spanish for “Cloud”) was almost undetectable.

This newly discovered galaxy has a set of specific properties which distinguish it from previously known objects. The research team estimate that Nube is a dwarf galaxy ten times fainter than others of its type, but also ten times more extended than other objects with a comparable number of stars. To show what this means to anyone who knows a little astronomy, this galaxy is one third of the size of the Milky Way, but has a mass similar to that of the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Nube Galaxy Through Different Telescopes

Image of the Nube galaxy through different telescopes. Credit: SDSS/GTC/IAC

“With our present knowledge we do not understand how a galaxy with such extreme characteristics can exist” explains Mireia Montes, the first author of the article, a researcher at the IAC and the ULL.

For some years, Ignacio Trujillo, the second author of the article, has been analyzing, based on the SDSS images (Sloan Digital Sky Survey), a specific strip of sky, in the framework of the project Legado del IAC Stripe 82. In one of the revisions of the data, they noticed a faint patch that looked sufficiently interesting to set up a research project.

The next step was to use ultra-deep multicolor images from the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), to confirm that this patch in the survey was not some type of error, but is an extremely diffuse object. Due of its faintness, it is hard to determine the exact distance of Nube. Using an observation obtained with the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), in the United States, the authors estimated the distance of Nube to be 300 million light years, although upcoming observations with the Very Large Array (VLA) radiotelescope and the optical William Herschel Telescope (WHT) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma, should help them to show whether this distance is correct. “If the galaxy turns out to be nearer, it will still be a very strange object, and offer major challenges to astrophysics” comments Ignacio Trujillo.

Another challenge to the present dark matter model?

The general rule is that galaxies have a much larger density of stars in their inner regions, and that this density falls rapidly with increasing distance from the centre. However, Montes says that in Nube, “the density of stars varies very little throughout the object, which is why it is so faint, and we have not been able to observe it well until we had the ultra-deep images from the GTC.”

Nube Galaxy

The Nube galaxy. The figure is a composition of a colour image and a black and white image, to pick out the background. Credit: GTC/Mireia Montes

Nube has the astronomers puzzled. Prima facie, the team explains, there is no interaction, or other indication of its strange properties. Cosmological simulations are unable to reproduce its “extreme” characteristics, even on the basis of different scenarios. “We are left without a viable explanation within the currently accepted cosmological model, that of cold dark matter” explains Montes.

The cold dark matter model can reproduce the large-scale structures in the universe, but there are small scale scenarios, such as the case of Nube, for which it cannot give a good answer. We have shown how the different theoretical models cannot produce it, which makes it one of the most extreme cases known until now. “It is possible that with this galaxy, and similar ones which we might find, we can find additional clues which will open a new window on the understanding of the universe” comments Montes.

“One possibility which is attractive, is that the unusual properties of Nube are showing us that the particles which make up dark matter have an extremely small mass” says Ignacio Trujillo. If this was so, the unusual properties of this galaxy would be a demonstration of the properties of quantum physics, but on a galactic scale. “If this hypothesis is confirmed, it would be one of the most beautiful demonstration of nature, unifying the world of the smallest with that of the largest” he concludes.

Reference: “An almost dark galaxy with the mass of the Small Magellanic Cloud” by Mireia Montes, Ignacio Trujillo, Ananthan Karunakaran, Raúl Infante-Sainz, Kristine Spekkens, Giulia Golini, Michael Beasley, Maria Cebrián, Nushkia Chamba, Mauro D’Onofrio, Lee Kelvin and Javier Román, 9 January 2024, Astronomy & Astrophysics.
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202347667

6 Comments on "Ghost in the Cosmos: Almost Invisible Galaxy Challenges Dark Matter Model"

  1. Thank you so much for proving such a exciting reports to all of you.
    Looking forward to hearing continuous great reports from you.

  2. Phase transitioning dark matter supplies the momentum that keeps dark matter circulating. If Nube was in or on the edge of a low dark matter void any Liquid Dark Matter that may have been there could have drained away spreading the galaxy as it did.

  3. Fixed gravity for you. | February 2, 2024 at 9:07 am | Reply

    “Challenges Dark Matter Model”

    No worries, mite, sound it out, it’s a plyce-hole-duh.

  4. doctor mehrdad kesiri1389 | February 3, 2024 at 10:13 pm | Reply

    Hello, I researched galaxies 43 years ago and got acquainted with the structure of quasars and black holes, and I reviewed books on astrophysics and the structure of atoms, but I had not studied for several years, and this made me stop thinking about I researched the life of the earth and came to another conclusion which was better than wasting my time. It is not useful for us to have accurate information about the galaxies and..But I don’t mean to stop the research about the solar system and especially about the earth, the Americans should definitely do research
    I have all the power of God above, but this matter is very, very complicated, all the jinns, madness and crimes may be the property of the jinn. These two reasonable things that I want to say have so much room for discussion and revelation that there is no limit. I am not stupid. Unfortunately, we are chosen by God and We are the lords of the world. I never said this in my previous messages. I have to explain about the two issues that I raised. This issue is the power of God and the jinn that caused the war. I must say that if there were no jinn, there would be less war. There is a word that has very complicated meanings, God means first of all, you mean the God of this world, humans are. God means the creator, the creator, the creator. It does not mean that everything is created by God, the creator can never create matter, but in the books It is said that God is the creator of everything. This is not true. Scientists know why God is not the creator of everything. Why should I start this discussion because I claimed that I already know about everything, especially about astronomy? And I claimed that I am the only true chosen one of God, but which God is the God who was created by man, the God who has order and law, the God who is the superior force, the God who is artificial intelligence. and they act in a stereotyped way about this issue, that God, they act in a stereotyped way. Anyone who wants to ask us questions, we are responsible for the issue of jinn, which I said caused madness, war, and crime. I can’t answer by translating, why? I can’t because the words I want to say are of the same family as jinn, everything changes in the translation into English, and when the words are translated into Latin, the words I am saying are not of the same family as jinn, only in Farsi the words madness, war, crime are of the same family But in English and Latin, the words madness, war and crime are not of the same family, of course I said that these words are not related to jinn, but the word jinn is related to the words madness, war, crime in Farsi, they are of the same family as jinn, mostly jinns and madness and crimes are due to the intervention of jinn and jinns, that is, genies I commented on my claim that I am the savior of the human world in other messages on this site and explained this issue and my claim that I know everything about the secrets of the earth and the lives of the ancients who tens of millions of years ago with the change of droughts. and the seas left a message for us. .. They didn’t inform me as much as I did, maybe they did, but I still didn’t know those scientists. Of course, I searched on astronomical sites. In this regard, I didn’t find any information about the history of humans that I said changed the continents and seas for us. Earthlings, so that we can know their stories, how the solar system and Earth’s life was, and the fate of Earthlings is related to the rotation of the sun and the collision of the sun with the stars of the arm of the galaxy, which my humble servant explained very much this time. ۹:۴۳

  5. To explain the particle mass of Dark Matter, consideration should be given to Dark Matter being a product of Dark Energy and hot Universal Energy in its initial primal stage.

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