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Vast Structure of Satellite Galaxies & Star Clusters Discovered Surrounding Milky Way --Nixes Existence of Dark Matter in Universe



Astronomers from the University of Bonn in Germany have discovered a vast structure of satellite galaxies and clusters of stars surrounding our Galaxy, stretching out across a million light years. The work challenges the existence of dark matter, part of the standard model for the evolution of the universe. 

Conventional models for the origin and evolution of the universe (cosmology) are based on the presence of ‘dark matter’, invisible material thought to make up about 23% of the content of the cosmos that has never been detected directly. In this model, the Milky Way is predicted to have far more satellite galaxies than are actually seen.

In their effort to understand exactly what surrounds our Galaxy, the scientists used a range of sources from twentieth century photographic plates to images from the robotic telescope of the Sloan Deep Sky Survey. Using all these data they assembled a picture that includes bright ‘classical’ satellite galaxies, more recently detected fainter satellites and the younger globular clusters.

“Once we had completed our analysis, a new picture of our cosmic neighborhood emerged”, says team leader Marcel Pawlowski. The astronomers found that all the different objects are distributed in a plane at right angles to the galactic disk. The newly-discovered structure is huge, extending from as close as 33,000 light years to as far away as one million light years from the center of the Galaxy.

“We were baffled by how well the distributions of the different types of objects agreed with each other," added Pavel Kroupa, professor for astronomy at the University of Bonn. "As the different companions move around the Milky Way, they lose material, stars and sometimes gas, which forms long streams along their paths. The new results show that this lost material is aligned with the plane of galaxies and clusters too. “This illustrates that the objects are not only situated within this plane right now, but that they move within it”, says Pawlowski. “The structure is stable.”

The various dark matter models are strained to explain this arrangement. “In the standard theories, the satellite galaxies would have formed as individual objects before being captured by the Milky Way”, explains Kroupa. “As they would have come from many directions, it is next to impossible for them to end up distributed in such a thin plane structure.”

“The satellite galaxies and clusters must have formed together in one major event, a collision of two galaxies," suggested Jan Pflamm-Altenburg. "Such collisions are relatively common and lead to large chunks of galaxies being torn out due to gravitational and tidal forces acting on the stars, gas and dust they contain, forming tails that are the birthplaces of new objects like star clusters and dwarf galaxies."

“We think that the Milky Way collided with another galaxy in the distant past," said Pawlowski. "The other galaxy lost part of its material, material that then formed our Galaxy’s satellite galaxies and the younger globular clusters and the bulge at the galactic center. The companions we see today are the debris of this 11 billion year old collision.”

“Our model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory," concluded Kroupa.  "We see this as the beginning of a paradigm shift, one that will ultimately lead us to a new understanding of the universe we inhabit.”

The image below is from a computer simulation showing the third impact of the Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy as it collides with our Milky Way nearly 2 billion years ago. The collision is thought to have led to our galaxy's star-filled arms.

More information: The work appears in "The VPOS: a vast polar structure of satellite galaxies, globular clusters and streams around the Milky Way", M. S. Pawlowski, et al. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in press. A preprint of the paper can be downloaded from



The Daily Galaxy via Royal Astronomical Society

Image credit: NASA and Erik Tollerud 

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You know, its "almost" funny, every time someone judges how much dark matter they think is out there, its a different number. I have seen as high as 95% and now this post is as low as 23%. I guess I should be glad the number is going lower and soon might vanish completely?

I absolutely agree with you smartypants. In fact, I remember the 75-25% ratio at one point. Dark Matter was never going to be easy to prove one way or another. I sense that it has some mystical connotations. I'm really keen to see who else checks out the recent analyses because this comes as a body-blow to the staggering [if not outrageous] claims by those proponents of the so-called standard model. It's always a lovely thing too when we are forced to rethink our ideas of reality. Perhaps the Dark Knight might be able to advise us.

I'll be interested to know whether this squares with Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the measured flatness of the universe.

Wow. This is incredible. First Pluto's planetness, and now dark matter's existence!

The one thing that really struck me, or I should say another thing, was that these hidden galaxies were located in a plane at right angles to the galactic plane?? Did I read that right?
Of course, with such a non-random distribution, it's not too surprising this new matter was missed by previous surveys.

It gives new credence to the notion of a bizarro Earth orbiting in hiding exactly opposite us behind the sun. The Universe is full of surprises.

oh no did they discover planet x in all of this

You guys are confusing between dark energy and dark matter. The speculation has always pegged dark matter distribution at about 25% and dark energy at 70% and rest of it being known baryonic matter (if I got that right).

Perhaps with the discoveries of these galaxies and stray dark stars/brown dwarfs or w/e and planets ejected from solar systems and galaxies, the mysterious extra mass of the universe can now be accounted for.

This still does not explain the black hole that lives in my sock drawer!

I think the 23-75% figure depends on whether they are talking about the amount of matter in the universe, or the composition of the entire universe.

The 75% figure is comparing the visible matter to the amount of dark matter, in that only a quarter of the matter in the universe reflects or produces light.

However most of the universe appears to be dark energy (70%), with most of the remaining matter being dark matter (23%), and the visible universe accounting for 7% or less.

This is all part of the fine-structure constant dipole that galaxies align with to form larger fractal structures, including superclusters and hyperclusters. The phony big-bang fails miserably to explain this milky way dipole alignment that is clearly obviously from electromagnetism, and not phony dark matter gravity. In 14 months they will survey billions of stars proper motions in our galaxy, and be able to confirm that there is no dark matter. Until then, hold your horses, cause the big-bang theory is going to blow apart. See story at

I don't see how this will damage the big bang. The motion of galaxies indicates matter that we cannot see. So now they think they see it.

Problem solved.

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The question has been asked of cosmologists before "Is it possible that Dark matter is simply normal matter we haven't found yet?"

The answer is always something like "No, because we can calculate the number of particles present at the time of the last scattering surface and that number is not sufficient to explain the amount of gravitational energy present in the universe."

The matter contained in the satellite galaxies has already been accounted for in models. How does their identification impact a model detailing the amount of total matter in the universe when their existence was already accounted for?

Furthermore, mapping out the gravitational density of distant galaxy clusters by measuring gravitational lensing effects displays that the bulk of the matter contained in those clusters falls outside of the galaxies, pointing to Dark Matter.

I'm not going to say that their model here is wrong but if it discounts or disallows the presence of dark matter then there is a very large amount of incorrect calculations going on in the rest of the field.

"Conventional models for the origin and evolution of the universe (cosmology) are based on the presence of ‘dark matter’, invisible material thought to make up about 23% of the content of the cosmos that has never been detected directly. "

In this site : , I describe a structure of the universe with many geometric models and the role of quasars in the evolution.

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