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Milky Way May Have Dark Matter Satellite Galaxies 174

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the whirling-and-twirling dept.
rubycodez writes "Berkeley astronomer Sukanya Chakrabarti has detected perturbations in the gases surrounding our Milky Way and concludes there is a satellite 'Galaxy X' 250,000 light years away that is mostly dark matter, but that may contain dwarf stars visible in infrared. She expects many more such dark matter satellites to the Milky Way to be discovered using her technique."
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Milky Way May Have Dark Matter Satellite Galaxies

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  • Mark my words (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2011 @02:38PM (#34907124)

    One day we'll find out why we're having to explain shit with "dark matter", and the stupid concept will be laughed at like the Luminiferous aether is now.

  • Re:Mark my words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:09PM (#34907588)

    One day we'll find out why we're having to explain shit with "dark matter", and the stupid concept will be laughed at like the Luminiferous aether is now.

    Yeah, like neutrinos and X-rays and all that other weird shit people made up to explain problems away.

  • Re:Mark my words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, 2011 @03:39PM (#34908010)

    One day we'll find out why we're having to explain shit with "dark matter", and the stupid concept will be laughed at like the Luminiferous aether is now.

    I don't think that's the case at all. The only reason we have "dark matter" is because of astronomical observations. That is classic science. Make an observation, and then come up with a theory to explain it. From observations we know that there is some type of mass out there affecting gravity. We call it 'dark matter' because we don't know what it is. This isn't an aether theory, it's based on real observations.

    I think we actually have enough evidence for dark matter but, to be fair, the luminiferous aether was also based on real observations. There used to be a great deal of controversy over whether light was a particle or a wave. If it was a particle, it didn't need a medium to travel through, but it became very hard to explain refraction and diffraction properties. If it was a wave, then it needs a medium. We know from experiments that the medium wasn't something we could normally interact with. You can pump air out of a glass container with something that is making noise inside it, and you will no longer be able to hear the noise, because the sound waves have no medium to travel through. You'll still be able to see the object, though. Therefore, it was easy to conclude, from experimental data, that if light was a wave, there had to be some medium for light to travel through, permeating through everything, but that we couldn't interact with (pump out).

    We had a bunch of observations that really demanded the presence of the Aether, until Einstein came along with his photoelectric effect papers and came up with the real solution: you know what? Light is both a particle AND a wave. That was completely unlike what we normally experience, so it's not the interpretation people were coming up with to explain their observations. A whole lot of things happened in those years, between Einstein, Planck, and deBroglie that really enriched our understanding of the universe. None of them set out to disprove the aether, it's simply that when they finally had a theory which explained every observation, the aether was no longer necessary.

    I think dark matter is probably real. We can measure mass via the dynamics of celestial objects, measure mass via gravitational lensing, and come up with similar results: there's more mass there. So it doesn't seem like it's a problem with our theories. That said, there's a lot of observations dark matter doesn't explain, so if it turned out that it doesn't exist after all, I wouldn't be entirely surprised, and it would be very much like the story of the aether. There's nothing wrong with that, and there was nothing wrong with introducing the aether back in those days. That really is what science is about. You make a theory that best fits your observation, and right now dark matter beats any other alternative. If someone comes up with a better alternative, scientists will drop dark matter as fast as they dropped the aether, but until then we need to go with what we have.

  • Re:SF plot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Monday January 17, 2011 @07:26PM (#34910254)

    If there is such a thing as wavefunction collapse, then there is only one universe and hence no branching. Likewise, if the universe branches, then there is no such thing as wavefunction collapse (the different outcomes simply occur in different universes).

    To be fair, if universe A branches into A' and A'' then to the inhabitants in each of A' and A'' it looks exactly like the wavefunction collapsed and settled on 'their' universe.

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