Nowadays, scientists are trying to understand the science behind NGC 1052-DF2, a mysterious galaxy that doesn’t follow the classical pattern; as unusual as it is, as intriguing it becomes to study it day by day. The most puzzling characteristic of DF2 is that it doesn’t have any dark matter and, in this case, scientists find it hard to understand how it was formed and what will happen to it.
The newly discovered galaxy reverses everything they knew about cosmos and puts other findings in a different light. DF2’s discovery made researchers start looking for other galaxies without dark matter, because they are aware that in this way they could unlock more secrets from cosmos. If dark matter should represent 27% of the Universe, how can it be that this galaxy doesn’t have any?
What do we know about NGC 1052-DF2 so far
NGC 1052-DF2 has been spotted by scientists while they were looking into ultra-diffuse galaxies. At first, they saw it like a sparse component of Cetus northern constellation. Although it is almost the size of Milky Way, DF2 has only 1% of its’ stars.
If we look closely at DF2, by using the Gemini Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope, we notice that the galaxy has unique star clusters and structures. Since dark matter is missing, the new finding has proved to be empty, so the star clusters are moving slowly, with approximately 18,000 miles/hour. Even if they are slow, the stars from this galaxy are almost as bright as one of the shiniest globular clusters from Milky Way, the Omega Centauri.
The astronomers who spotted the new galaxy were puzzled at first. They used object spectrographs and the Dragonfly Telephoto Array custom-built telescope to observe more details about DF2. Thanks to their technical helpers, experts could even estimate its’ age – around 10 billion years.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca