Thursday, February 24, 2005

BBC NEWS -- Astronomers find star-less galaxy

Astronomers have discovered an object that appears to be an invisible galaxy made almost entirely of dark matter.

The team, led by Cardiff University, UK, claims it is the first such object to be detected.

A dark galaxy is an area in the Universe containing a large amount of mass that rotates like a galaxy, but contains no stars.

It was found 50 million light-years away using radio telescopes in England and Puerto Rico.

Very little is known about "dark matter", even though there is much more of it in the cosmos than "normal", or baryonic, matter, which constitutes the visible material from which stars and planets are built.

The mysterious new galaxy has been called VIRGOHI21.

Similar objects that have previously been discovered have since turned out to contain stars or be remnants of two galaxies colliding.

However, the scientists from the UK, France, Italy and Australia found no visible trace of any stars, and no galaxies nearby that would suggest a collision.

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