Welcome to the latest installment of “Writer Fuel – cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration. Today:
On the surface, a galaxy 250 million light-years from Earth seems like any other, but a deeper look reveals a puzzling quirk: It seems to have no dark matter.
If these galaxies are ultimately confirmed to be devoid of dark matter, it could upend fundamental theories about the making of galaxies (dark matter is considered essential to this process). And that, in turn, could rule out a leading candidate for the mysterious substance, called cold dark matter.
“In principle, galaxies like this shouldn’t exist,” said Pavel Mancera Piña, a doctoral candidate in astronomy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and an astronomer at ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy), referring to the fact that dark matter is thought to be the glue that holds a galaxy’s stars, gas and dust together. “We cannot effectively explain them with any existing theory,” said Mancera Piña, who is the lead author of a new paper describing the findings.