Science News

Curated by RSF Research Staff

Whirling plane of satellite galaxies challenges cosmological cold dark matter model

The cosmological cold dark matter model assumes that most satellite galaxy systems are close to isotropic – that is with no preferred direction. Now, in a recently published paper, a team of astrophysicists from the university of Irvine, California, have just challenged the validity of such a model.

The team headed by Olivier Mueller were observing the kinematics of satellite galaxies around the galaxy Centaurus A, and found that a significant number of the satellite galaxies followed a coherent velocity pattern aligned with the long axis of their spatial distribution – the galactic disc. The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are also both known to be surrounded by a thin plane of corotating satellite galaxies. This had previously always been explained as a statistical outlier and rare. However, finding three such systems in the nearby Universe does prompt one to think again and question the very model that forms the basis of our understanding of the Universe.



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