Cambridge: Massive Holes ‘Punched’ through a Trail of Stars

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Cambridge: Massive Holes ‘Punched’ through a Trail of Stars

Post by bystander » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:51 pm

Massive Holes ‘Punched’ through a Trail of Stars Likely Caused by Dark Matter
University of Cambridge | 2016 Sep 07

The discovery of two massive holes punched through a stream of stars could help answer questions about the nature of dark matter, the mysterious substance holding galaxies together.
[img3="Artist's impression of dark matter clumps around a Milky Way-like galaxy.
Credit: V. Belokurov, D. Erkal, S.E. Koposov (IoA, Cambridge)
Photo: Color image of M31 from Adam Evans
Dark matter clumps from Aquarius, Volker Springel (HITS)
"] ... _final.jpg[/img3][hr][/hr]
Researchers have detected two massive holes which have been ‘punched’ through a stream of stars just outside the Milky Way, and found that they were likely caused by clumps of dark matter, the invisible substance which holds galaxies together and makes up a quarter of all matter and energy in the universe.

The scientists ... found the holes by studying the distribution of stars in the Milky Way. While the clumps of dark matter that likely made the holes are gigantic in comparison to our Solar System – with a mass between one million and 100 million times that of the Sun – they are actually the tiniest clumps of dark matter detected to date.

The results ... could help researchers understand the properties of dark matter, by inferring what type of particle this mysterious substance could be made of. According to their calculations and simulations, dark matter is likely made up of particles more massive and more sluggish than previously thought, although such a particle has yet to be discovered. ...

A sharper view of Pal 5's tails: Discovery of stream perturbations
with a novel non-parametric technique
- Denis Erkal, Sergey E. Koposov, Vasily Belokurov
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