Galaxy Composed Almost Entirely of Dark Matter Astonishes Astronomers Once Again

Dark matter is a very puzzling structure already. Although it has no mass and it’s not made of regular atoms like all the matter that is visible, dark matter plays a crucial role in the structure of galaxies themselves. One such group of stars captured the attention of astronomers when they concluded that it’s composed of about 99.99% dark matter.

The galaxy was named Dragonfly 44, and astronomers had been struggling to understand why there’s so much dark matter in it. Thanks to new research from the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, we have an answer.

A miscalculation led to a false conclusion

The new study reveals that the scientists who discovered Dragonfly 44 may have overestimated the amount of dark matter present in the galaxy.

Teymoor Saifollahi, who is the lead author and researcher at the Netherlands’ Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, says:

Now we know that the previous results were wrong and that DF44 is not extraordinary. It is time to move on,

Michael Beasley, coauthor and a researcher at Spain’s Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, said:

Our work shows that this galaxy is not so singular nor unexpected,

That way the models of galaxy formation can explain it without the need for modification.

Normal matter, which consists of atoms and molecules, is representing less than 5% of the Universe. On the other side, dark matter is much more prevalent: it composes around 27% of the totality of ‘stuff’ that fills our Cosmos. Dark energy, the other mysterious component that accelerates the expansion of our Universe, makes up 68%.

It’s impossible for scientists at the moment to directly observe dark matter, which is why it’s called ‘dark’ in the first place. We can hope for this situation to change in the near future, as astronomy was light-years less developed only fifty years ago. 

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