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Dark-Matter 'Superhighways' of the Cosmos --"Connecting Vast Bubbles Devoid of Galaxies"

 

 

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By using the best available data to monitor galactic traffic in our neighborhood, Noam Libeskind from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and his collaborators have built a detailed map of how nearby galaxies move. In it they have discovered a bridge of Dark Matter stretching from our Local Group all the way to the Virgo cluster - a huge mass of some 2,000 galaxies roughly 50 million light years away shown above, that is bound on either side by vast bubbles completely devoid of galaxies. This bridge and these voids help us understand a 40 year old problem regarding the curious distribution of dwarf galaxies.

These dwarf galaxies are often found swarming around larger hosts like our own Milky Way. Since they are dim they are hard to detect, and are thus found almost exclusively in our cosmic neighborhood. A particularly fascinating aspect of their existence is that near the Milky Way and at least two of our closest neighbors - the Andromeda and Centaurus A galaxies - these satellites don’t just fly around randomly, but are instead compressed on to vast, flat, possibly spinning, planes. Such structures are not a naive outcome of the Cold Dark Matter model that most cosmologists believe is responsible for how the universe forms galaxies. These structures are thus a challenge to the current doctrine.

One possibility is that these small galaxies echo the geometry of structure on much greater scales: "This is the first time we have had observational verification that large filamentary super highways are channeling dwarf galaxies across the cosmos along magnificent bridges of Dark Matter" Libeskind says. This cosmic “super highway” gives the speeding satellites an off ramp along which they can be beamed towards the Milky Way, Andromeda and Centaurus A.

 

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“The fact that this galactic bridge can affect the dwarf galaxies around us is impressive, given the difference in scale between the two: the planes of dwarfs are around one percent of the size of the galactic bridge to Virgo”.

The key topics of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science.

The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. Since 1992 the AIP is a member of the Leibniz Association.

Publication: Noam Libeskind et al. „Planes of satellite galaxies and the cosmic web“ in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and in arXiv.

The Daily Galaxy via The AIP

Image credit: Virgo Cluster, 1080plus.com

 

Comments

The current doctrine of "dark matter" phenomenon understanding is being challenged indeed. Is it possible to adapt WIMPS model to explain why such "super highways" are present?
I prefer different Dark Matter phenomenon explanation. Hypothesis is that "Dark Matter" is just the leak through of gravitation from parallel universes. What we see as group of galaxies is just a cross section of much bigger multidimensional structures of matter. Observed "super highway" is just a region of our 3D space heavily influenced by matter present in parallel space (out of our 3D realm). What do you thinks about such alternative explanation?

This works as long as the planar areas can be shown to be circular. The part where they're possibly spinning is troubling, though, since there's no evidence that our own universe possesses an intrinsic axis of rotation (GR says it isn't), so there's no way to postulate that another universe with which we are intersecting would be rotating.

You'd have to postulate more than one alternate universe intersecting with ours because two spheres can't intersect in more than one location (circular cross-section) simultaneously.

I suppose one could look for evidence of a region of heavy gravitational attraction and compare the local geometry to that of a 3D projection of the hypothetical intersection of three or more spherical galaxies in a higher-dimensional space. (Said higher-dimensional space having never been proven to exist, of course.) There is the matter--no pun intended--of postulating physics which makes the planar region of intersection a void (as if the intrusion perimeter asserted a sort of negative gravity which pushes all the galaxies into filaments at the "edges" of the joined regions).

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