Weird News

Distant Galaxy Found to Have No Dark Matter—& Scientists Are Both Excited & Surprised

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More than half of our known universe is made up a substance scientists can't completely understand: dark matter. Completely undetectable but for the effect it has on normal matter, scientists don't know what dark matter is, or where it is, but they all know it's there. If it wasn't, the universe wouldn't look anything like it does today. For instance, without all that invisible matter's gravity, most galaxies wouldn't contain enough mass to bind them together, and many scientists believed that dark matter was a necessary component in galaxy construction...until now, that is. A new study, published in Nature, reveals the existence of NGC 1052–DF2, a galaxy with almost no dark matter.

A little bit of background...

NGC 1052–DF2 is roughly the size of the Milky Way, but considerably less dense. In fact, it's nearly transparent—astronomers can actually make out other, more luminous galaxies on the other side of it. The researchers estimate the galaxy contains about 1/200th of the stars contained in ours, challenging many scientist's ideas about the nature of the universe. The study's lead researcher, astronomer Pieter van Dokkum, released a statement which read:

We thought that every galaxy had dark matter and that dark matter is how a galaxy begins. This invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of any galaxy. So finding a galaxy without it is unexpected. It challenges the standard ideas of how we think galaxies work...

Though strange, the researchers also have some ideas as to how NGC 1052–DF2​ came to exist.

Our limited understanding of dark matter didn't forbid the existence of this galaxy, but this is the first we've encountered which continues to exist without it. If NGC 1052–DF2 was a byproduct of a pre-existing galaxy, scientists speculate, it may not have needed dark matter's gravitational pull to help it form. Perhaps if two galaxies collided, jettisoning a huge amount of dust in the same general area, it might be possible. Astrophysicist Katie Mack told Mashable:

It makes sense that that could happen sometimes, that you could have circumstances such that gas is coming together, maybe from an outflow or from some gas falling into a galaxy, and while that gas is coming together through its own gravity, it could fragment and form stars. So, it's not inconceivable

But seriously, why should people care?

Well, for scientists, it answers a crucial question about what dark matter is and how it works. While some scientists imagine it as invisible, intangible matter that just sort of floats around space (somehow), others believed dark matter was just a property of how gravity works when applied on a very, very large scale. It's easier to believe our equations are a bit off than it is to believe 70% of the universe is invisible and undetectable, right?

Well, the truth is stranger than fiction.

This new galaxy suggests dark matter really is a separate and independent entity. After all, if it was a gravitational effect between solar systems or galaxies, it would be in this one as well! It's absence in NGC 1052–DF2 is profound and surprising to many scientific circles.

With each passing day, we learn more about our universe and our place in it—this is truly an exciting time to be alive!

H/T - Mashable, Nature

Jinxy Productions via Getty images@PassionPopSoc/Twitter

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The wizarding world is now a reality.

Sort of.

A Canadian company has created a real life invisibility cloak, and it's mind-blowing to see in action.

The company, HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp., calls its creation "Quantum Stealth."

See it in action here:

'Invisibility cloak' that could hide tanks and troops looks closer to reality www.youtube.com

Describing themselves on their website as "Leaders in Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception", HyperStealth has patents pending on their magical invention.

The "invisibility shield" is made of an inexpensive, paper thin material that bends light to make objects appear to be invisible. The company boasts that it would be able to hide people, vehicles, and even buildings.

Humans hidden by Quantum Stealth would also be undetectable to heat-sensing cameras.

Meet the Canadian who created a real-life invisibility shield youtu.be

Guy Cramer, the CEO of HyperStealth and the shield's inventor explained to CTV News:

"This is the same material that you see in 3D books and DVD covers and movie posters where by moving side to side you get a 3D image. We're using the same material and we've removed the picture from behind it to get that effect."

The material was never meant to for public use, but Cramer hopes that his invention will be helpful to Canada's military allies, including the United States.

Since releasing video demonstrations of the "invisibility cloak", military personnel have become interested in learning more about it.

Reception to the prototype, initially demonstrated to militaries in 2011, was lukewarm. But HyperStealth's recent promotional materials have since caught the attention of higher ups.

Cramer has expressed surprise about the public's interest in "Quantum Stealth" on Twitter.

Cramer admitted to CTV that he has reservations about how the material can be used:

"The intention was to keep it out of the public and to allow the military to use it sparingly or bury it. My concern is the criminal element using this at some point in the future and non-allied countries using it against our soldiers out there."

Fans of the Harry Potter series are comparing "Quantum Stealth" to Harry's Invisibility Cloak.

Featured in both the book and movies, Harry's Invisibility Cloak is a made from a magical fabric that he and his friends wear to appear invisible, usually to hide from Hogwarts' staff.


Twitter is in awe of the invention's unbelievable capabilities.

Though some people share Cramer's worries about it falling into the wrong hands and its use in warfare.

Despite the public's excitement and concerns, Cramer doubts that it will ever be available for civilian use.

When addressing "Quantum Stealth's availability to the general public, he wrote on the HyperStealth website:

"Not in the near future unless the Military decided to release the technology and I don't anticipate that will happen anytime soon."

If you're not up on your Potterdom lore (or just need a new set after reading your first ones to tatters) the Harry Potter Books 1-7 Special Edition Boxed Set is available here.

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