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Holding Up a Mirror to a Dark Matter Discrepancy

15 Sep 2020, 22:40 UTC
Holding Up a Mirror to a Dark Matter Discrepancy
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IMAGE: Hubble Space Telescope image of the massive galaxy cluster MACSJ1206 with the distortions produced by light bending and the dark matter map generated from these lensing effects (shown on the left in blue). CREDIT: NASA, ESA, G. Caminha (University of Groningen), M. Meneghetti (Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science of Bologna), P. Natarajan (Yale University), the CLASH team, and M. Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble)

In a new article in the journal Science, a research team led by Massimo Meneghetti has determined that there are dense clumps of dark matter associated with some galaxies in clusters. This was a two-step observation: the Very Large Telescope (VLT) was used to confirm galaxies belonged to the cluster and to measure the velocities of stars in those galaxies – a way to determine the galaxies’ masses using orbital mechanics. They also used the Hubble Space Telescope to look at how the light of distant objects was magnified and sometimes distorted and replicated by the overall gravitational pull of the cluster, and by the individual tugs of member galaxies.

To quote the press release: To the team’s surprise, in addition to the dramatic arcs and elongated features of distant galaxies produced by each cluster’s gravitational ...

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