Test helps clarify dark matter's existence

A galactic test has allowed researchers to clarify the existence of dark matter.
By Joseph Scalise | Nov 05, 2018
Computer models developed by a team of scientists from the University of Bonn to simulate dwarf galaxy distribution around the Milky Way have clarified dark matter's existence, according to a recentstudy in the journal Physical Review Letters.

The new models are important because they allowed researchers to simulate radial acceleration relation (RAR), which shows how much the relationship between the movement of satellite galaxies causes the attraction between different galactic matter.

RAR is an important process because it considers both the observed circular acceleration of a galaxy as well as any acceleration that comes from ordinary matter distribution.

However, the new models go beyond that to account for any acceleration that comes from dark matter.

"We have now simulated, for the first time, the RAR of dwarf galaxies on the assumption that dark matter exists," said study co-author Cristiano Porciani, a researcher at the University of Bonn, in astatement. "It turned out that they behave as scaled-down versions of larger galaxies."

In addition, the simulations allowed scientists to analyze how satellite galaxies would likely behave if there was no dark matter around. They found that such galaxy's RAR would be more affected by the parent galaxy.

These new models, though exciting, have not been tested yet. The team hopes data from the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft -- which is currently collecting details on millions of stars throughout the universe -- can be used to test the predictions of the newest RAR models in a galactic setting.

However, more data needs to be gathered before that happens.

"Individual measurements are not enough to test the small differences we have found in our simulations," said lead author Enrico Garaldi, a doctoral student at the University of Bonn, according to UPI. "But repeatedly taking a close look at the same stars improves the measurements every time. Sooner or later it should be possible to determine whether the dwarf galaxies behave like in a universe with dark matter -- or not."

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