A distant galaxy that appears completely devoid of dark matter has baffled astronomers and deepened the mystery of the universe's most elusive substance. The Guardian reports: The absence of dark matter from a small patch of sky might appear to be a non-problem, given that astronomers have never directly observed dark matter anywhere. However, most current theories of the universe suggest that everywhere that ordinary matter is found, dark matter ought to be lurking too, making the newly observed galaxy an odd exception. Dark matter's existence is inferred from its gravitational influence on visible objects, which suggests it dominates over ordinary matter by a ratio of 5:1. Some of the clearest evidence comes from tracking stars in the outer regions of galaxies, which consistently appear to be orbiting faster than their escape velocity, the threshold speed at which they ought to break free of the gravitational binds holding them in place and slingshot into space. This suggests there is unseen, but substantial, mass holding stars in orbit. In the Milky Way there is about 30 times more dark matter than normal matter. The latest observations focused on an ultra-diffuse galaxy -- ghostly galaxies that are large but have hardly any stars -- called NGC 1052-DF2. The team tracked the motions of 10 bright star clusters and found that they were traveling way below the velocities expected. The velocities gave an upper estimate for the galactic mass of 400 times lower than expected. The researchers described their discovery in the journal Nature.