Scientists have discovered an „almost invisible” dwarf galaxy that our current understanding of the universe cannot explain. The mysterious faint object that went undetected for years is so faint that researchers can't even pinpoint its exact location.
The new galaxy, named Nupe (or „cloud” in Spanish), is described in a study published in the journal Jan. 9. Astronomy & Astrophysics. The Nube is very diffuse, meaning its stars are spread out so widely that, as a result, the galaxy does not emit any light. It is about 10 times fainter than other known dwarf galaxies and 10 times wider than it should be considering the number of stars it contains.
„With our current knowledge, we do not understand how a galaxy with such extreme characteristics could exist,” said the study's lead author. Miria Montesan astrophysicist at the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands said in a statement. Report.
Researchers discovered Nube when they reanalyzed data collected by Sloan Digital Sky Survey — one of the largest and most comprehensive astronomical databases of the night sky — and discovered a small anomaly that had gone unnoticed for years. After catching the anomaly, the team used the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Gran Telescopio Canarias in La Palma, Spain to take ultra-deep multicolor images of the outer coordinates.
But even then, Noob is so faint that the team couldn't accurately calculate its exact distance from our own galaxy. Researchers suspect it is about 300 million light-years away milky way, and a third throughout. But further observations are needed to confirm this.
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A general law of galaxy formation is that the density of a galaxy is greatest in the center and decreases further out. But the concentration of stars in the nube „varies very little across the object, which is why it's so faint,” Montes said.
When the galaxy has so little mass at its core, researchers can't explain how it's held together. Gravity Place the rest of the stars in place.
In general, astronomers think that such gravitational anomalies occur dark matter – A mysterious type of substance of unknown origin that does not react with light and is said to It is about 27% of the mass of the universe. However, based on our current understanding of dark matter, that should not be enough to explain the unusual properties of the Nube.
„One intriguing possibility is that the unusual properties of the Nube show that the particles that make up the dark matter have very little mass,” study co-author Ignacio Trujillo, astrophysicist at the Canary Islands Astrophysical Institute, said in the statement. If this is true, he added, dark matter 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 nature's most beautiful demonstrations, bringing together the smallest world with the largest,” Trujillo added. However, this is only a possible theory.
Whatever the reason for the nube's prevalence, researchers are now looking for similarly faint galaxies to help unravel the mystery.
„With this galaxy and similar ones we may find, we may find additional clues that open a new window into our understanding of the universe,” Montes said.
„Oddany rozwiązywacz problemów. Przyjazny hipsterom praktykant bekonu. Miłośnik kawy. Nieuleczalny introwertyk. Student.