Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Direct Detection Sheds Light on Dark Galaxies

01.11.2012
Most people think of galaxies as huge islands of stars, gas and dust that populate the universe in visual splendor. Theory, however, has predicted there are other types of galaxies that are devoid of stars and made predominately of dense gas. These “dark” galaxies would be unseen against the black backdrop of the universe.
Now, an international team of astronomers has detected several dark galaxies by observing the fluorescent glow of their hydrogen gas, illuminated by the ultraviolet light of a nearby quasar. But what exactly are dark galaxies, and what role do they play in the evolution of our universe?

“Dark galaxies are composed of dark matter and gas, but for some reason they have not been able to form stars,” said Martin Haehnelt, Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. “Some theoretical models have predicted that dark galaxies were common in the early universe when galaxies had more difficulty forming stars – partly because their density of gas was not sufficient to form stars – and only later did galaxies begin to ignite stars, becoming like the galaxies we see today.”

Haehnelt is a member of the scientific team that detected these galaxies. According to Haehnelt, one can begin to understand the importance of dark galaxies by looking at our own Milky Way. “We expect the precursor to the Milky Way was a smaller bright galaxy that merged with dark galaxies nearby. They all came together to form our Milky Way that we see today.”

Another member of the team, Sebastiano Cantalupo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, agreed that dark galaxies are the building blocks of modern galaxies. “In our current theory of galaxy formation, we believe that big galaxies form from the merger of smaller galaxies. Dark galaxies bring to big galaxies a lot of gas, which then accelerates star formation in the bigger galaxies.”

The techniques used for detecting dark galaxies also may provide a new way to learn about other phenomena in the universe, including what some call the “cosmic web” – unseen filaments of gas and dark matter believed to permeate the universe, feeding and building galaxies and galaxy clusters where the filaments intersect.

“I wonder if we can indeed use this technique to see the emission of filamentary gas in the cosmic web, and if so, how close are we to seeing that?” said team member Simon Lilly of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. “That has been something of a Holy Grail for many, many years and I think this most recent discovery of dark galaxies is a significant step toward the goal.”

The complete discussion with Drs. Haehnelt, Cantalupo and Lilly can be found at: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/kicc-dark-galaxies.

James Cohen | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.kavlifoundation.org
http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/kicc-dark-galaxies

Further reports about: Dark Quencher Detection LIGHT Milky Way building block dark matter galaxies galaxy cluster

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers
21.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy
21.04.2017 | Stockholm University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>