99.99% of newly found galaxy Dragonfly 44 is composed of dark matter
Scientists have discovered a new galaxy that has the same mass as the Milky Way, but with just 1% of our galaxy’s star power. Around 99.99% of the galaxy known as Dragonfly 44 is made up of dark matter.
The research paper published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters has unveiled that Dragonfly 44 is 300 million light years away. The galaxy is present in the nearby Coma constellation. Owing to its unusual composition, it has remained unnoticed for long.
Its mass is estimated to be one trillion times the mass of the sun, which is akin to the mass of the Milky Way. But there difference is that only one-hundredth of 1% of that is in the form of stars and normal matter.
As per the astronomers, it is not unique to come across a galaxy that is majorly made up of dark matter, as ultra-faint dwarf galaxies have similar compositions. But the highlighting feature is that those galaxies are not as gigantic as Dragonfly 44 is.
Study’s lead author Pieter van Dokkum from Yale University said that they were able to have a detailed look of the Dragonfly 44 due to the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini North telescope, both in Hawaii. The astronomers have also taken help from Keck in order to measure the velocities of stars in the galaxy.
Using the Gemini North telescope, the astronomers were able to unveil a halo of spherical clusters of stars present around the galaxy’s core. The halo was similar to the one that surrounds Milky Way galaxy.
Study’s co-author Roberto Abraham from the University of Toronto was of the view, “Amazingly, the stars move at velocities that are far greater than expected for such a dim galaxy. It means that Dragonfly 44 has a huge amount of unseen mass”.
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