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Dwarf Galaxies and Dark Matter

milky way galaxy

A computer simulation of the third impact of the Sagittarius-Dwarf galaxy 2 billion years ago.

Dark matter makes up about 80 percent of the universe, yet it is invisible to telescopes, nor does it interact strongly with other particles. Scientists cannot fully understand dark matter, but they do know that it exists based on it heavily affecting the movements of visible matter in the universe.

The leading candidate for what dark matter is composed of are subatomic particles. Subatomic particles that are considered Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) collide to destroy each other, emitting gamma rays which are detectable by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Scientists have been analyzing data collected from the telescope that has been peering into 10 dwarf galaxies, looking for signs of matter. The dwarf galaxies are the best candidates because they have much less interference than our own larger galaxy emits.

 

In trying to explain the shape of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, ¬†with its prominent spiral arms rooted in a central bar, scientists have traditionally dismissed the influence of outside forces, even though astronomers have seen shape-changing mergers of other galaxies. Two collisions with a dwarf galaxy over the last 2 billion years may have been the cause of the Milky Way’s spiral arm structure.Scientists are now continuing the hunt for dark matter with higher gamma-ray energy ranges, longer observing times, as well as improvements made to the telescope’s sensitivity. Dwarf galaxies continue to be the best subject for observation.

Considering that dark matter makes up 80% of our known universe, it would make sense to want to study it. Understanding how dark matter truly operates might give us a better understanding of how the entire universe works. If it is said that this dark matter has a direct effect on physical matter, growing our knowledge of this matter might explain how the planets and stars align themselves. It might explain why the universe doesn’t just fly apart, why our very own planet stays in orbit around the sun instead of flying straight into infinite space. It might help explain gravitational pulls and how gravity plays a part in maintaining the universal makeup. As technology continues to advance further, look for scientists to be making new discoveries about dark matter, dwarf galaxies, and the mechanics behind our universe. Maybe in our lifetime we will have a better explanation of how this whole system operates.

Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/322359

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One Response to Dwarf Galaxies and Dark Matter

  1. very cool to think about — I have been knocking myself out with subatomic physics info since the first time I heard of it. I feel like I missed something really important when I was younger, and now I’m catching up. Thanks for the post!

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