Monday, August 20, 2007

Galactic Collision Challenges Dark Matter Theories

What? We may have to change our "understanding" of the property of something we barely know anything about? This is unacceptable! :)

All kidding aside, this observation by the Chandra X-ray Observatory could be BIG! (Open, free link available only for a limited time.)

The images depict hundreds of galaxies merging into a huge cluster called Abell 520, located about 2.4 billion light-years away. As astronomer Andisheh Mahdavi of the University of Victoria in Canada and colleagues will report in the 20 October issue of The Astrophysical Journal, some of the galaxies have moved as far away as 2 million light-years from their dark matter anchors, far enough that gravity will never bring them back. Perhaps just as incredible, the clouds of hot interstellar gas formerly contained by the galaxies--and superheated by the collision so they glow in x-ray light--seem to have been grabbed by the dark matter instead of being flung into space.

Dark matter remains mysterious, which also means that there's going to be a lot of jobs for a long time for people studying this.


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