Researchers have just found a ‘Ghost Galaxy’ which is made up almost entirely of dark matter. Dubbed Dragonfly 44, it is the most mysterious galaxy EVER found in the universe.
The strange galaxy dubbed Dragonfly 44 is located relatively close (cosmologically speaking) and is so faint that researchers have missed in for decades.
The anomalous galaxy is made up entirely of dark matter, a mysterious and incomprehensible –mostly theoretical— force that makes up around 27% of our entire universe.
However, while scientist have missed the galaxy in previous scans, they spotted it last year. It turns out that Dragonfly 44 is located in the Coma Galaxy Cluster, around 330 million light years from Earth.
When scientist decided to take a closer peek, they found out it wasn’t made up of ordinary stars, but instead of one of the most mysterious elements in the universe, dark matter.
The galaxy is believed to have a similar mass to out Milky Way galaxy, only one hundredth of ONE percent is made up of normal stuff that you’d expect to find in a ‘normal’ galaxy like stars, dust, and gas.
This galaxy, however, is made up of 99.99% of dark matter. Scientists are absolutely astonished as no one on Earth has any clue what that is, how it came into existence and how a galaxy like that could have formed.
Compared to Dragonfly 44, our own galaxy, the Milky way has hundred times more stars than what researchers were able to spot at the ‘ghost galaxy’.
Researchers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii came across the galaxy after they were following the movement of the stars within the galaxy.
According to Professor Pieter Van Dokkum, from the Yale University in the US:
“Motions of the stars tell you how much matter there is. They don’t care what form the matter is; they just tell you that it’s there.
“In the Dragonfly galaxy, stars move very fast. So there was a huge discrepancy.“
“We found many times more mass indicated by the motions of the stars than there is mass in the stars themselves.”
Researchers believe that without the extra gravity of dark matter that makes up the anomalous galaxy, Dragonfly 44 would quickly fall apart.
In other words, Dragonfly 44 is the most mysterious galaxy found to date.
Thanks to this finding, scientists whose findings was published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters speculate that the universe could have many more similar galaxies.
According to co-Author of the study, professor Roberto Abraham, from the University of Toronto in Canada:
“We have no idea how galaxies like Dragonfly 44 could have formed.
“The data shows that a relatively large fraction of the stars is in the form of very compact clusters, and that is probably an important clue. But at the moment we’re just guessing.”
Dark matter is considered as one of the most anomalous ‘things’ that make up the universe.
It turns out that it does exist, based on calculations that account for the make-up of our universe, but we have never managed to see dark matter.
Hopefully, discoveries like this could help us understand the mysterious forces that rule the universe.
“Ultimately what we really want to learn is what dark matter is,” said Dr. Van Dokkum.
“The race is on to find massive dark galaxies that are even closer to us than Dragonfly 44, so we can look for feeble signals that may reveal a dark matter particle.”
It’s noteworthy to mention that only around 5 percent of the interchangeable mass-energy of the universe is made up of ‘normal matter’ that we are able to ‘see’ and ‘touch.’