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Friday, November 9, 2007

Dwarf galaxies with dark secrets



Stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies behave in a way that suggests the galaxies are utterly dominated by dark matter, University of Michigan astronomers have found.

Astronomy professor Mario Mateo and post-doctoral researcher Matthew Walker measured the velocity of 6,804 stars in seven dwarf satellite galaxies of the Milky Way: Carina, Draco, Fornax, Leo I, Leo II, Sculptor and Sextans. They found that,

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  • contrary to what Newton's law of gravity predicts, stars in these galaxies do not move slower the farther they are from their galaxy's core.
    "These galaxies show a problem right from the center," Mateo said. "The velocity doesn't get smaller. It just stays the same, which is eerie."

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