Feeds

The plane story of galactic clusters

Dark matter ‘filaments’ mapped

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Why are galaxies where they are? Astronomers have turned up a hint at the way dark matter affects the large-scale structure of the universe, with observations discovering that the Milky Way and nearby galactic clusters are arranged along a plane.

The researchers, from the Australian National University, believe the arrangement of galaxies and globular clusters hints at large-scale structures based on vast filaments of dark matter.

According to lead researcher Stefan Keller of the ANU, the structures are revealed by the spatial distribution of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, such as the Magellanic Clouds.

Galaxies like beads on a string, say ANU astronomers.

Image: Michael Boylan-Kolchin, University of California Irvine

Rather than being randomly distributed, the paper that Keller has co-authored with Dougal Mackay and Gary Da Costa has found a planar distribution that suggests the galaxies are connected by something with sufficient gravity to maintain that structure.

Hence the suggestion that the large-scale structure is evidence of dark matter.

Keller likens the galactic structures as “beads on a string”, telling The Register that the existence of dark matter filaments would help explain why the Magellanic Clouds are located perpendicular to the plane of the Milky Way’s disk, and are feeding matter into our galaxy.

“The Magellanic Clouds, which are satellites of the Milky Way, are the source of gas that is raining down on the Milky Way and is added, slowly, to the Milky Way’s disk,” he explained.

If you model our galaxy without taking into account the possible existence of dark matter filaments, he said, the models predict a fatter disk than actually exists.

“Matter, both dark and ordinary, is drawn along these filaments to the largest local mass distribution,” he said – and in the case of his observations, that is the Milky Way, which is steadily cannibalizing the Magellanic Clouds.

Of course, the problem remains of identifying exactly what those dark matter filaments are. “We suspect that it is a weakly interacting massive particle,” he said, but noted that early results from the Large Hadron Collider “don’t look good” for these “WIMPs”. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.