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Has Dark Matter Gone Missing?
ScienceNOW ^ | 19 April 2012 | Adrian Cho

Posted on 04/19/2012 9:54:03 PM PDT by neverdem

Enlarge Image
sn-darkmatter.jpg
Home sweet home. In the vicinity of the sun, our Milky Way galaxy seems to contain no dark matter, one team of astronomers claims.
Credit: Serge Brunier/NASA

If a new study is true, then the search for dark matter just got a lot weirder. Our little corner of the Milky Way contains no observable concentration of the mysterious stuff whose gravity binds the galaxy, claims one team of astronomers. That finding would present a major problem for models of how galaxies form and may undermine the whole notion of dark matter, the researchers claim. But some scientists doubt the reliability of the team's method for measuring the elusive substance.

"This is not just some piddling little detail," says Frederic Hessman, an astronomer at the University of Göttingen in Germany who was not involved in the work. "If this is right, it turns everything totally upside-down." But that's a big if, says Julio Navarro, an astrophysicist at the University of Victoria in Canada: "The argument is provocative, but it remains inconclusive, in my opinion."

According to standard cosmology, we should be swimming in dark matter. Measurements of the afterglow of the big bang—the so-called cosmic microwave background—and of the distribution of the galaxies suggest that 85% of all matter in the universe is dark matter. What's more, decades of astronomical observations show that the stars within galaxies swirl about faster than they could if only the gravity of the others stars were holding them in. In fact, the speed with which the sun goes around the center of our galaxy suggests that dark matter ought to be about as abundant as ordinary matter at our distance from the galactic center, about 27,000 light-years.

But that's not what Christian Moni Bidin, an astronomer at the University of Concepción in Chile, and colleagues find. Using data gathered with several telescopes, they studied old stars called red giants in a cylindrical region a couple of light-years wide and extending 13,000 light-years above the plane of the galaxy. Treating the stars a bit like atoms in a gas, researchers assumed that they were trapped in the gravitational "well" of the galaxy. So by studying distributions of the stars' speeds in three dimensions, they could deduce the well's shape and hence the total distribution of mass from both dark and ordinary matter along the cylinder. Subtracting the distribution of ordinary matter as determined from star counts would then reveal the distribution of dark matter.

When Moni Bidin and colleagues did the analysis, however, they found that no dark matter was needed to explain the stars' speeds. The researchers had expected to detect a complicated mass distribution with a contribution from the galaxy's disk of stars and gas and the presumably spherical "halo" of dark matter surrounding the disk. Instead, they found that the disk alone neatly explained their data(PDF FReebie), as they report in a paper in press at The Astrophysical Journal.

The data don't disprove the existence of dark matter, Moni Bidin is quick to say. Astrophysicists still need the stuff to explain the speed of the stars in the galaxy. However, the data do suggest that there isn't any dark matter in our neck of the woods. "We're not saying that there isn't any dark matter," Moni Bidin says. "We're just saying that there isn't any dark matter here."

But that could lead to a major problem with the whole idea of dark matter. For example, one way to explain why there is no dark matter 27,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way would be to assume it's all in one tall cigar-shaped lump that sticks through the center of the galaxy. But simulations show that such a shape for the halo is unlikely, Moni Bidin says.

Another possibility is that dark matter is made not of "cold," massive particles moving very slowly, but rather of "warm," lightweight particles moving much faster. In that case, the galactic halo would be larger and more uniform, producing an even and therefore undetectable background, Hessman says. But that inference would fly in the face of standard cosmology, which assumes that galaxies start to form as cold dark matter starts to condense in massive clumps. "Basically," Hessman says, "the cosmologists should say, 'Oh my God!' because you're taking away the one thing that makes everything work and they're going to have to go back to square one."

Or not. The new result may say more about the method than the distribution of dark matter, Navarro says. To get that distribution, at each position in space Moni Bidin and colleagues must subtract one large quantity (the amount of ordinary matter) from another large quantity (the amount of total mass) to get a small quantity. That process is likely to suffer from large uncertainties, Navarro says. "I applaud them for trying," he says. "I just don't think this method will ever give a conclusive answer." Moni Bidin says the method is robust and that larger surveys to come will pin down the dark matter distribution more precisely.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Testing
KEYWORDS: astrophysics; darkmatter; milkyway; science; stringtheory

1 posted on 04/19/2012 9:54:18 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Dark matter only tries to explain why things in the
universe doesn’t work the way our theories explain things.
Obviously our theories about formation and maintenance of
our universe may be flawed. Or our understanding of matter
for that matter. NO pun intended.


2 posted on 04/19/2012 10:01:36 PM PDT by Getready (Wisdom is more valuable than gold and diamonds, and harder to find.)
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To: neverdem

Always another theory.


3 posted on 04/19/2012 10:02:24 PM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: neverdem
Has Dark Matter Gone Missing?

It's missing the same way the aether and phlogiston are missing

4 posted on 04/19/2012 10:07:21 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: Getready

That was so well put. Thank you. You must feel like a heretical lunatic sometimes, but that is the obvious answer. We are in a period of epic cosmological error. They will laugh at us in 100 years.


5 posted on 04/19/2012 10:08:20 PM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for officeoffI)
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To: neverdem
Has Dark Matter Gone Missing?

No, it was never there in the first place and a lot of top physicists say so. Because the Big Bang never happened.

The Electric Universe

6 posted on 04/19/2012 10:09:40 PM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: qam1

“It’s missing the same way the aether and phlogiston are missing”

snicker


7 posted on 04/19/2012 10:09:49 PM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for officeoffI)
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To: neverdem

sounds racist...


8 posted on 04/19/2012 10:12:34 PM PDT by bigbob
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To: qam1
It's missing the same way the aether and phlogiston are missing

Aether isn't missing.

And phlogiston was pretty close to oxidation.

But Dark Matter never existed in the first place.

9 posted on 04/19/2012 10:15:05 PM PDT by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: qam1

“It’s missing the same way the aether and phlogiston are missing”

snicker


10 posted on 04/19/2012 10:16:28 PM PDT by DesertRhino (I was standing with a rifle, waiting for soviet paratroopers, but communists just ran for officeoffI)
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To: SunkenCiv

/mark


11 posted on 04/19/2012 10:18:31 PM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: neverdem

-OR- can Dark Matter be Honkified..


12 posted on 04/19/2012 10:18:50 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: DesertRhino

Do I recall correctly that Descartes came up with a grand theory of vortices, which did not pan out? These overarching theories always seem to stumple on the lack of supporting evidence. Maybe wait awhile. The Hubbell and its successors may bring enough data that we can build a theory on, Right now, we might as well assume that angels push things around.That way we don;t have to worry about predictions. Just say, Que sera, sera,


13 posted on 04/19/2012 10:20:37 PM PDT by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: neverdem

Where did they have it last?


14 posted on 04/19/2012 10:20:37 PM PDT by Tex-Con-Man (T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII 2012 - "Together, I Shall Ride You To Victory")
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To: Getready

OR.... that physics works differently on the scales we are trying to understand.

My guess is that the need for dark matter to explain certain cosmology was due to a poor estimate of the amount of matter in galaxies that cannot be seen or detected by us. It’s not invisible, it just isn’t lit up, and it’s to small.

We used to think that there were few Earthlike planets or systems. Now we are finding there are a multitude. We now know that our solar system has an inner ring of junk, and debris scattered around the periphery. Would beings from another galaxy be able to detect this ‘matter’?

Probably Not. Doesn’t mean it’s invisible, or mysterious.

I also suspect that a multitude of stars, such as at the galaxy center, exhibit a pull of gravity based on the size of the ‘ball’, which is higher than the collective ‘gravity’ of each star.


15 posted on 04/19/2012 10:21:20 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: neverdem

Bfl


16 posted on 04/19/2012 10:26:07 PM PDT by llandres (Forget the "New America" - restore the original one!!)
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To: neverdem

Kahnnn!!!!


17 posted on 04/19/2012 10:35:07 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: neverdem
I think I saw an ad for it on Craig's List.
18 posted on 04/19/2012 10:57:27 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: neverdem
Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born [prototokos] of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities [these words in Greek refer to the hierarchical angelic powers]-all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

Perhaps there are powers in higher dimensions, un-perceivable from our level, which hold the universe together.

19 posted on 04/19/2012 11:57:47 PM PDT by dps.inspect (the system is rigged...)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Regenerative medicine repairs mice from top to toe - Three separate studies in mice show normal function can be restored to hair, eye and heart cells.

Light Bends by Itself

The Threat of Substandard Drugs

Bird flu reported at Chinese farms

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

20 posted on 04/20/2012 12:06:11 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

Bookmark


21 posted on 04/20/2012 12:19:50 AM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: neverdem

Dark matter has gone missing because it doesn’t matter.
It’s not matter.

It’s momentum.

P=MV

Momentum is what it takes to balance out the Lorentz equations.

It takes various forms, the one we hear about most is the neutrino.

Y’all read it here first...


22 posted on 04/20/2012 1:40:13 AM PDT by djf (If you are depressed all the time, at least you are never disappointed!)
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To: djf

I just could never see dark matter.


23 posted on 04/20/2012 2:18:30 AM PDT by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: neverdem

Big Dark Matter is hoarding it to drive up the price.


24 posted on 04/20/2012 3:19:51 AM PDT by WildWeasel
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To: WildWeasel

“We can’t afford a situation where dark matter speculators can reap millions while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work.”


25 posted on 04/20/2012 3:33:19 AM PDT by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: bigbob

Hell no. It can’t be iffen it’s DARK.

Bush stole it. ALL.


26 posted on 04/20/2012 3:38:00 AM PDT by Flintlock (Picture ID for ALL voting. Let our dead rest in peace.)
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To: neverdem
The *obvious* scientific conclusion is:
The Milky Way Is Racist!
Paging Rev Al and Rev Jesse.
Please pick up the Red and Brown courtesy phones.
27 posted on 04/20/2012 4:18:31 AM PDT by Condor51 (Yo Hoffa, so you want to 'take out conservatives'. Well okay Jr - I'm your Huckleberry)
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To: hoosierham
I just could never see dark matter.

You need a blacklight to see it.

28 posted on 04/20/2012 4:27:33 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: neverdem

“...whose gravity binds the galaxy...”

I thought the “Force” is what “...Binds the Galaxy Together...” - At least that’s what Obi-Wan said in Star Wars IV!


29 posted on 04/20/2012 4:29:17 AM PDT by Mr. C (Take Back America!)
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To: neverdem
Has Dark Matter Gone Missing?

That's what happens when you put it in the clothes dryer. If they should ever find it, they'll probably solve the mystery of the missing socks too.......

30 posted on 04/20/2012 4:30:12 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (Would I like to be young again? No, I worked too hard to get here, I don't want to do it again)
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To: RobbyS
The Hubbell and its successors

Successors (principally the James Webb) will finally be canceled to fund muslim outreach. Hubble telescope doomed without shuttle to repair it - sometime between 2019-2032. At which time, China will determine what the US does or does not launch into LEO.

Expect these things to happen in Obama’s second term - or in his third, but definitely by his fourth term when space will be something which happens in other countries and in the US will be the distance from one ear to the other.

USA enters space with a bang, but goes out silently - not even with a whimper.

31 posted on 04/20/2012 5:08:05 AM PDT by PIF (They came for me and mine ... now it is your turn ...)
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To: neverdem

It’s the Romulans. They’re cloaking everything.


32 posted on 04/20/2012 5:53:14 AM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: PIF

If Obama gets his third term, he better not parade down Pennsylvania avenue.


33 posted on 04/20/2012 7:18:27 AM PDT by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: neverdem

It’s funny when they say there is simply no room for God in creation, yet they hop from theory to theory struggling to explain the basics of the observable universe.

I have always believed that there is a spiritual, unobservable counterpart to what is visible.


34 posted on 04/20/2012 7:18:42 AM PDT by catbertz
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To: neverdem
What if dark matter suppresseslife? In every direction we point our SETI ears - and nothing... no life - just the darkness...
35 posted on 04/20/2012 7:32:03 AM PDT by GOPJ (Hoodies - because you can't kill a security camera for snitchin' - - freeper tacticalogic)
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To: catbertz
It’s funny when they say there is simply no room for God in creation, yet they hop from theory to theory struggling to explain the basics of the observable universe.

What is truly funny is the lack of understanding of how science actually works. Without the self-corrections by proposing and testing new theories, the assumptions made cannot be relied upon as bearing truth. But for science's openness to testing and re-evaluation, we'd still be considering anaesthesia as the work of the Devil intended to nullify God's punishment in the form of pain, and burning witches at the stake or drowning them.

36 posted on 04/20/2012 8:13:33 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett

This is a common modern canard.

The scientific method relies on the moderate realism of the Middle Ages —particularly the promulgation of the dogma of “creation from nothing,” from which a direct line can be drawn through Buridan to Newton.

It’s not coincidental that so many great scientists were clerics.

The Origin of Science
columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/science_origin.html


37 posted on 04/20/2012 8:31:39 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: AdmSmith; bvw; callisto; ckilmer; dandelion; ganeshpuri89; gobucks; KevinDavis; Las Vegas Dave; ...

Thanks neverdem.

· String Theory Ping List ·
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38 posted on 04/20/2012 4:14:00 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
So many great scientists were clerics and the more they sought after the truth, the more of religious superstition got torn down, leading to other consequences, good and bad. The future discoveries lead to further separation of science from religion, when observations and deductions could not be squared with their religious dogma.

The Time Argument is a big problem for those citing the "something from nothing" canard. For God to even perform the first act of anything, Time has to pre-exist God, so that there is meaning in that act of God separating it from the prevailing configuration. Lawrence Krauss has an amazing lecture on this First Cause topic:

A Universe From Nothing

39 posted on 04/20/2012 6:04:09 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett
For God to even perform the first act of anything, Time has to pre-exist God, so that there is meaning in that act of God separating it from the prevailing configuration.
I don't get why Time has to pre-exist God. I'm not sure I understand what that would even mean.

Besides that, even if it's somehow true and not reversed (God pre-existed time), how do you know one way or another with enough certainty to make such a statement as "Time has to pre-exist God"?

What is your authority for making that statement? You state it as if its an axiom, not the result of a chain of logical reasoning, so you must have an authority for that axiom. What is it? (Just curious.)

40 posted on 04/21/2012 5:11:31 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: samtheman

Just the fact that temporal separation must exist in order to distinguish between events caused by actions.

For example, if you created something, what distinguishes your act of creation from your prior state when you hadn’t yet created anything? If you don’t have Time separating those two phases, they lie superposed and happen(ed) simultaneously. This renders no meaning to your act of creation because in Timelessness, you thus end up having not yet created, AND created something simultaneously, which is absurd. Therefore, Time has to pre-exist so that your dynamism can have meaning.


41 posted on 04/21/2012 10:13:04 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: samtheman

Assume God “pre-existed” Time. “Then” God creates Time. BUT, for this change in the configuration of the present to be possible, where one entity didn’t exist and then it does, Time is needed in the interim to describe the change. However, until the end of these two events, Time wasn’t yet created. So, God created and did not yet create Time simultaneously (without Time, all happen simultaneously) - which is absurd.


42 posted on 04/21/2012 10:18:46 AM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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