Dark Matter Exists: Observations Disprove Alternate Explanations

Acceleration as a function of radius in NGC 4455, one of the studied galaxies. (Image: Di Paolo et al. modified from survey SDSS9)

As fascinating as it is mysterious, dark matter is one of the greatest enigmas of astrophysics and cosmology. It is thought to account for 90 percent of the matter in the Universe, but its existence has been demonstrated only indirectly and recently called into question. New research conducted by SISSA removes the recent doubts on the presence of dark matter within galaxies, disproving the empirical relations in support of alternative theories.

The study, published in The Astrophysical Journal, also offers new insights into understanding the nature of dark matter and its relationship with ordinary matter. From the expansion of the universe to the movement of stars in the galaxies, the phenomena are many, which, the presence of ordinary matter alone, namely that composed by atoms, is unable to explain. The attractive force it generates is not sufficient.

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Removing doubts on the existence of dark matter

This had led to the theory of the existence of dark matter, namely undetectable, and the idea that galaxies are embedded in its spherical halo. Chiara Di Paolo, a doctoral student of astrophysics at SISSA, explained:

Di Paolo and her collaborators wanted to verify this relationship, analyzing the rotation curves of galaxies other than the “classical” spiral kind: 72 galaxies with low surface brightness (LSB) and 34 dwarf disc galaxies. They produced more extended results, finding a relationship, which, besides total gravitational acceleration and its ordinary component, also involves the galactic radius and the morphology of the galaxies. Paolo Salucci, professor of astrophysics at SISSA and one of the research authors, said:

Provided by: International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) [Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.]

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