The discovery of the six ‘dim dwarf galaxies’ took the researchers by surprise. An international team of scientists led by Pavel Mancera Piña (University of Groningen and ASTRON) discovered the ‘impossible’ galaxies. These six are unique, as it was previously thought that their existence was impossible according to present-day theories of galaxy formation, as reported by the University of Groningen. The newly-discovered galaxies appear to lack dark matter, which was thought to be fundamental for keeping dim dwarf galaxies together.
The astronomers used the facilities of the Dutch Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope and the American Very Large Array to find the six galaxies, which are located between 240 million and 320 million light-years away. Such dwarf galaxies – or system of stars – are not really very small; in fact, they are as large as the Milky Way. Due to the little light that they emit, they are referred to as ‘dwarf’.
The surprising finding of no black matter in the six star systems is a difficult one to explain at the moment, the researchers are trying to shed light on their discoveries in their paper for The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Located in Drenthe, the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is an open user infrastructure available for international scientists. The telescope belongs to the Radio Observatory of ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.