854 ultra dark galaxies have been found at the center of the Coma Cluster located in the Berenice’s Hair constellation.
This exciting discovery is poised to reveal more about the enigmatic dark matter that holds visible matter together in galaxies and clusters. The Mauna Kea Subaru Telescope enabled the consortium of Japanese and American scientists to bring this unprecedented number of ultra-dark galaxies to light.
More precise, the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope that allows peeks into the darkest corners of space. Last year, another 47 dwarf dark galaxies were discovered, marking a new era of research in dark matter and the origin of these galaxies.
The 854 ultra dark galaxies recently found in the Coma Cluster are at an approximate distance of 300 light years from Earth. Until recently, they remained hidden by the comparably brighter galaxies of the same Coma Cluster.
And, unlike the 47 dark galaxies discovered during the previous year, these are approximately the same size as our home galaxy, Milky Way. Vast, yet sparsely populated with not so luminous stars, the 854 ultra dark galaxies are ancient.
Gases have been mostly drained as the stellar population in the 854 ultra dark galaxies is some of the oldest ever discovered by astronomers. Nonetheless, these fascinating galaxies present a similar spatial distribution as their brighter brethren in the Coma Cluster.
This once more raised the question of what binds the stars in these ultra dark galaxies? Gravitation is not the answer. To the contrary, the strong gravitational force of the Coma Cluster could have caused the demise of the ultra dark galaxies by now as they are located so close to Cluster’s center.
Jin Koda, lead author of the study and astrophysicist from the Stony Brook University, New York City, commented:
“Not only these galaxies appear very diffuse, but they are very likely enveloped by something very massive”.
The visible matter of the ultra-dark galaxies accounts for nearly one percent of the galaxies’ masses. The 99 percent that remains is still shrouded in mystery. It is the unseen dark matter that glues the visible matter together and holds the 854 ultra dark galaxies.
What dark matter really is still boggles the scientific community. But the undeniable fact that the percentage of visible matter or star in the recently discovered 854 ultra dark galaxies is below the average fraction in the universe supports the existence of dark matter as a binding force.
Thus far, the Coma Cluster provided observers with 1,000 galaxies to be studies. Many more are perhaps waiting in the Coma Supercluster which is comprised of the Coma Cluster and the Leo Cluster.
A detailed study surrounding the discovery of 854 ultra dark galaxies will soon feature in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Image Source: nasa.gov