Researchers find ‘new natural law’ that challenges dark matter theory

Posted: September 22, 2016 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, research, solar system dynamics
Tags: ,

Spiral galaxy NGC 5457 aka the Pinwheel Galaxy [image credit: European Space Agency & NASA]

Spiral galaxy NGC 5457 aka the Pinwheel Galaxy [image credit: European Space Agency & NASA]

One in the eye for dark matter theorists it seems, as reports.

In the late 1970s, astronomers Vera Rubin and Albert Bosma independently found that spiral galaxies rotate at a nearly constant speed: the velocity of stars and gas inside a galaxy does not decrease with radius, as one would expect from Newton’s laws and the distribution of visible matter, but remains approximately constant.

Such ‘flat rotation curves’ are generally attributed to invisible, dark matter surrounding galaxies and providing additional gravitational attraction.

Now a team led by Case Western Reserve University researchers has found a significant new relationship in spiral and irregular galaxies: the acceleration observed in rotation curves tightly correlates with the gravitational acceleration expected from the visible mass only. “If you measure the distribution of star light, you know the rotation curve, and vice versa,” said Stacy McGaugh, chair of the Department of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve and lead author of the research.

The finding is consistent among 153 spiral and irregular galaxies, ranging from giant to dwarf, those with massive central bulges or none at all. It is also consistent among those galaxies comprised of mostly stars or mostly gas.

In a paper accepted for publication by the journal Physical Review Letters and posted on the preprint website arXiv, McGaugh and co-authors Federico Lelli, an astronomy postdoctoral scholar at Case Western Reserve, and James M. Schombert, astronomy professor at the University of Oregon, argue that the relation they’ve found is tantamount to a new natural law.

An astrophysicist who reviewed the study said the findings may lead to a new understanding of internal dynamics of galaxies.
“Galaxy rotation curves have traditionally been explained via an ad hoc hypothesis: that galaxies are surrounded by dark matter,” said David Merritt, professor of physics and astronomy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the research.

“The relation discovered by McGaugh et al. is a serious, and possibly fatal, challenge to this hypothesis, since it shows that rotation curves are precisely determined by the distribution of the normal matter alone. Nothing in the standard cosmological model predicts this, and it is almost impossible to imagine how that model could be modified to explain it, without discarding the dark matter hypothesis completely.”

Full report: Acceleration relation found among spiral and irregular galaxies challenges current understanding of dark matter

  1. Bloke down the pub says:

    a team led by Case Western Reserve University researchers
    Who knows what they might discover when they bring on the first team.

    [reply] 🙂

  2. oldbrew says:

    Caption to photo in the report:
    ‘In spiral galaxies such as NGC 6946, researchers found that a 1-to-1 relationship between the distribution of stars plus gas and the acceleration caused by gravity exists.’

    Read more at:

    And here is more:
    Lelli compared the relation to a long-used natural law. “It’s like Kepler’s third law for the solar system: if you measure the distance of each planet from the sun, you get the orbital period, or vice versa” he said. “Here we have something similar for galaxies, with about 3,000 data points.”

    “In our case, we find a relation between what you see in normal matter in galaxies and what you get in their gravity,” McGaugh said. “This is important because it is telling us something fundamental about how galaxies work.” [bold added]

  3. oldbrew says:

    Researchers’ conclusion: “Most importantly, whatever theory you want to build has to reproduce this.”

    The Radial Acceleration Relation in Rotationally Supported Galaxies

    Stacy McGaugh, Federico Lelli, Jim Schombert
    (Submitted on 19 Sep 2016)
    We report a correlation between the radial acceleration traced by rotation curves and that predicted by the observed distribution of baryons. The same relation is followed by 2693 points in 153 galaxies with very different morphologies, masses, sizes, and gas fractions. The correlation persists even when dark matter dominates. Consequently, the dark matter contribution is fully specified by that of the baryons. The observed scatter is small and largely dominated by observational uncertainties. This radial acceleration relation is tantamount to a natural law for rotating galaxies.

  4. TA says:

    Science is Fun! You never know what’s coming next.

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    All you need to do is measure the visible mater, multiply by a fudge factor “constant”and vola! No need for “Dark Mater”, Lol! problem solved. BS!…pg

  6. Roger Clague says:

    p.g.sharrow says:
    September 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    All you need to do is measure the visible mater, multiply by a fudge factor “constant”and vola! No need for “Dark Mater”,

    You sum up the paper very well.

    The fudge factor is affecting all the radiating matter ( nucleons) we know about. We need to find out what this factor is.

    There is no need to postulate non-radiating dark matter which is by definition not observed and hence nonphysical.

  7. USteiner says:

    Well, if there is no Dark Matter, what else might NOT be there? Perhaps, an expanding universe? Perhaps Big Bang?

    Two years ago came the report about direct evidence of cosmic inflation They thought to have measured a ripple in gravitational waves, proving expansion. And while the authors were already eager to hint at future noble laureates, others were less convinced:

    “… the assertion has led to rumors on the Internet that the team may not have found evidence of cosmic inflation after all.  …  the map created by the Planck team included several possible sources of light, but the researchers at BICEP2 thought it only charted dust or ashes from exploding stars.”

    Alas, they thought to have photographed the dark night, and didn‘t notice the kids playing with flashlights…

    A couple months later even the existence of the Big Bang was challenged by simply adding some quantum correction terms to the equations governing the Big Bang theory.

    “In addition to not predicting a Big Bang singularity, the new model does not predict a “big crunch” singularity, either. … the quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term.”

    But why should this even be surprising? We are using our current set of physics equations, knowing (or: should be knowing) full well that these equations in all likelihood do not apply to such a monstrous singularity as the Big Bang is before the bang. When even only a few corrective terms make this thing go away, why should it be so strange to assume that it might not exist at all?

    So, there is no Big Bang, there is no expansion of the universe, there is no Dark Matter or Dark Energy filling the universal space, and there is no beginning or end of the universe, neither in time nor in space.

    Now I think this makes life a whole lot easier 😉

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    To say that they don’t Need Dark mater/energy does not mean it doesn’t exist. Just that the mathematical theorists can balance their equations and claim that THEY can explain the conditions of the Universe. GOD is not a mathematician. Mathematicians can not even solve a formula for Pi. and the volume of a sphere. They can get close, but not exact.

    There is something out there that we can not touch but can see it’s effects.

    When you can understand the nature of “Aether” you will “See” the face of GOD…pg

  9. tallbloke says:

    I remember a book I had many years ago, called ‘The New Science of Strong Materials’ by J.E. Gordon. In it there was the first photo which resolved layers of atoms in a flat lattice. It looked like a fuzzy pinstriped cloth. A Russian scientist remarked that we were “Looking up ze trousers of God.”

  10. Paul Vaughan says:


    ““The relation discovered by McGaugh et al. is a serious, and possibly fatal, challenge to this hypothesis, since it shows that rotation curves are precisely determined by the distribution of the normal matter alone. Nothing in the standard cosmological model predicts this, and it is almost impossible to imagine how that model could be modified to explain it, without discarding the dark matter hypothesis completely.””

    We pay people for their whole lives to model things that don’t exist.

  11. USteiner mentions folks challenging the prevailing “Big Bang” theory. LOL!

    When I was an undergraduate Fred Hoyle’s “Continuous Creation” theory was in vogue. It it time to resurrect it?

  12. Paul Vaughn says:
    “We pay people for their whole lives to model things that don’t exist.”

    A “Research” sinecure at a prestigious university appeals to people who don’t have the intestinal fortitude to tackle real work.

  13. hunter says:

    All that matters, so to speak, is if we can get FTL of some sort.

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Hunter, when under the stress of 32ft per second acceleration – 1G. FLT is achieved in 40 days! That is 120 hp applied per 2,000lbs or 1 ton of mass.
    Nikola Tesla believed and I believe it can be done electrically but haven’t accomplished the feat, yet… 😉 pg

  15. oldbrew says:

    Standard theory outlined here.

    But this bit seems to be under challenge:

    Most of the universe is made up of dark energy, the mysterious force that drives the accelerating expansion of the universe. The next largest ingredient is dark matter, which only interacts with the rest of the universe through its gravity.

    Normal matter, including all the visible stars, planets and galaxies, makes up less than 5 percent of the total mass of the universe.

    Show us ‘the mysterious force’.

  16. My gut feeling was that dark matter was a fudge used to explain certain, incomplete, observations.
    It has (expensive) parallels closer to home.

  17. oldbrew says:

    Gaia clocks speedy cosmic expansion

    Europe’s Gaia space telescope has been used to clock the expansion rate of the Universe and – once again – it has produced some head-scratching.

  18. M Simon says:

    p.g.sharrow says:
    September 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    A sphere as you conceive it is a theoretical construct. No such animal exists in nature. “Perfectly round” is not available. Ask any machinist. First off there are tolerances. Second off there are atoms. All actual surfaces are bumpy. Bumpy can be calculated. See Bucky Fuller on the question of pi.

    Actual structures are island of compression in a sea of tension.

  19. dai davies says:

    Mass, gravity, charge, particles and aether are the basic questions of physics.

    There’s speculation that there are terms in gravitational attraction that only become significant at large distances. so dark stuff is just a reflection of this. Sounds fair to me.

    Mass may be the simplest. Mass is said to bend space (aether). Perhaps it’s just a measure of the bentness of space, and E=mc^2 is just a measure of the energy needed to bend space.

    Gravity as per GR – particles falling into the bent space around other particles – gravity wells – but, apparently, not quite that simple. Aether’s elasticity is not quite linear?

    Particles? Some interesting speculation going around in the 90s but disappeared out of my radar. Photons as aether resonances like 2D solitons that travel at c – not at horse pace like solitons in water in a 1D canal. Other particles still 2D but as spherical shells. Molecules as actual mass and charge shells distributed as spherical harmonics – 2D sine functions – not solar system like orbits of infinitesimal particles – totally unphysical to have mass and charge in a point form, but when did a consensus have to make sense. Perhaps the clue is in the ‘con’ part 🙂

    Aether/space? Zero point fluctuations of a vacuum? Structured and non-random if you reject the fundamental randomness of the universe propagated by the Copenhagen Consensus. Total madness. A consensus that’s held back physics for a century now. Define random in this context! Science is based on the premise of a causal universe. Random is a useful mathematical fiction not a real world thing.

    Charge? That’s a tricky one. Phase difference between particle resonances?


  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    @dai; well, I tried to reply twice and the computer or wordpress ate my work. Too tired to do it again, maybe tomorrow. You are not wrong…pg

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m pondering, but not conclusions yet, the issue that you can get photons (EM waves) out of any material. Radio waves to gama rays. It looks like anything can be turned into photons.

    The reciprocal would be that photons can turn into anything… so “matter’ as condensed light.

    Now all light is not created equal… a 10 Mhz radio wave is not an X-ray nor UV.

    What makes it different? Frequency. The rate of oscillation between magnetic and electrical fields.

    So what if the Photon is just that oscillation, and when rotating slowly you get long waves, the faster it rotates the higher the frequency. As a photon, it travels at light speed. At some rate of rotation all the linear momentum is turned into angular momentum and it ‘condenses’ into matter. The rotating vortex of EM emitting gravity.

    Put a bunch of these close together, many of the forces balance out, but that spinning AM still manifest as gravity, so we get big masses of “stuff”, that are really blobs of photons with high rotation rates and near zero linear movement rates, stuck together to cancel out their side lobes and side effects (like charge).

    We convert one kind of particle into another by spalling off chunks of it (electron from neutron giving proton) and having some spin imbalances manifest as charge. An unmatched E part of the EMag bundle… For other particles, we get a Gama taking the phtons away and helping the conversion.

    At any rate, that’s the half baked idea that needs a lot of detailed thrashing out.

    The universe is light. The change from linear momentum to angular momentum gives “condensed” matter. Stimulating that rotating photon matter can cause some part to change rotation rate and spit out a photon, of various residual rotation so various frequencies. Gravity is just a side effect of a lot of tightly very high AM photons in one place. A whorl in the aether…

    I know. Needs work. But I ponder it while making coffee for other thoughts… 😉

  22. p.g.sharrow says:

    dai davies says:
    September 25, 2016 at 1:32 am
    Mass, gravity, charge, particles and aether are the basic questions of physics.

    @dai; once again an attempt.
    After a great deal of consideration on the transfer of energy the concept of a 3D solitan wave seemed to be a good representation of a particle/wave. see;
    In the early 1980s I read a “peer reviewed” paper by a researcher that examined “tracks” of particle collisions from Laurence Radiation Labs.. After reviewing 10,000 of them his conclusion was Photons, Electrons, Neutrinos etc. were just manifestations of the same thing with different EMF signatures. The results of the collisions was that one would change to another. Motion in 3 demensions, spin about an axis, twist about a second axis of the spinning quanta, and linear travel. Each motion will yield a different EMF signature at the detector and a different path of the resultant track under magnetic field influence. If we are looking at a ball, or Soliton Wave of energy in motion we have something that will vanish if it loses all motion. Something that also seems to be the case…pg

  23. p.g.sharrow says:

    I proposed that mass/inertia and gravity were the result of Electrostatic fields of mater that warped the charge field of space. These things are not internal to mater but are stress in the Aether caused by the organized charge fields internal to mater. Gravity therefor behaves the same as all other fields rather then reversed. The Aether is therefor charge or static negative. Mater is statically no charge or static positive. This results in mater exhibiting mass/inertia and gravity due to it’s warpage of the conditions in the Aether…pg

  24. Jason Calley says:

    There are alternate non-dark-matter explanations. Here is one that has no fudge factors in it at all.

  25. dai davies says:

    Designing radio antennae was what got me thinking about what photons were – thinking on a big scale rather than micro – lots of electrons shunted to and fro along a wire. Somehow that helped. Moving charge distorting the space/aether around it. Short waves bend more so more bentness = more mass = more energy to do it.
    Looking around at work on 2D solitons it seems to be all in discrete media, so a field of virtual particles fits the bill. Still stuck on charge, though. Buckets of coffee still needed there.
    The idea of non-photon particles as a spherical 2D soliton shell came from a book self published in the 90s by – I think from memory – Randal Mills of Black Light fame. With your interest in that area you might know him. Interesting guy. My archives from the USENET days are lost in a large box of floppies so I can’t check back.

    “The universe is light.” Vedic thinkers got that right millennia ago.:)

  26. dai davies says:

    I suppose I should say quasi-2D for photons. Is a spherical shell 2D or 3D? Depends how you look at it, I suppose. I had a clear idea once as to why photons had to move, but as a sperical shell didn’t. Probably from Mills. Had to do with what was happening EM-wise inside the sphere making it equivalent to moving.
    In the notes on your diagram, I’d say the EMF soliton packet carries all the energy, not most. When you say frequency matching with the receiving atomic structure, I’d say resonance – neater. I think most people understand resonance – I assume so.

    The need for resonance resolves the particle/wave duality confusion. Light and matter are both if you see them as soliton packets of vibrating space. In the double slit experiments that are used to justify the duality, it is said that since a photon interacts at a point on the far screen it must be a particle, but it’s wave structure covers the screen and it just gets absorbed by the atom in the screen that is nearest resonance – like a genie going back into the lamp. No duality needed, just quantisation.

    Haven’t seen your site before. Oatmeal cookies? We call them Anzac buiscuits down here. Again just language, but either way the staff of life. I sometimes add other things, but plain suits me fine.

  27. dai davies says:

    Thanks for the link. That’ll take some time to digest.

  28. oldmanK says:

    Just a comment — originating from a completely different field. Yesterday (tourism day) I saw 5000 years of continuous historical transmission of a subject, in spite of the many hiccups, suddenly discarded for something totally inane, all for the sake of coming up with something different.

    Is academia revisiting Babel?

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    dai davies says:
    September 28, 2016 at 3:08 am:
    “The need for resonance resolves the particle/wave duality confusion. Light and matter are both if you see them as soliton packets of vibrating space. In the double slit experiments that are used to justify the duality, it is said that since a photon interacts at a point on the far screen it must be a particle, but it’s wave structure covers the screen and it just gets absorbed by the atom in the screen that is nearest resonance – like a genie going back into the lamp. No duality needed, just quantisation.”

    “soliton packets of vibrating space” Charge in motion. A quanta, Exactly

    Everything else is just artifacts created through interpretation of detector output. Only a EE that creates detection devices could realize the truth and “see” the dancing spheres…pg

  30. dai davies says:

    I dug out my copy of Randell Mills’ book Unification of Spacetime, The Forces, Matter, and Energy. Thought I should at least correct my spelling of his name – Randell not Randal. (and ‘biscuits’, while I’m about it)

    Hard to summarise the book. It derives a stunning array of basic atomic properties from first principles including multi-electron atoms and the ionisation potentials of the first eight elements. The last paragraph in his chapter on gravity is worth quoting from.

    “Thus, each stable particle arises from a photon directly or from a decaying particle which arose from a photon. … Nuclei form as binding energy is released as the orbitspheres of participating nucleons overlap. Atoms form as potential energy of the fields of electrons and nuclei is released as the fields are partially annihilated. Molecules form as the energy stored in the fields of atoms is minimised. Planets and celestial bodies form as the gravitational potential energy is minimised. …”

    He might well have included solar systems in that. I thought the idea of mass as the bentness of space (or stress tensor if you wish) came from him, but apparently not, from a quick skim through, so until contradicted I’m claiming that for myself.

  31. Blob says:

    There are auxiliary assumptions that, while largely ignored, are crucial to the dark matter hypothesis as well. Abandoning these may be enough to explain the discrepancy:
    “The motion of a test mass in the field of a thin, massive gravitational disk is exquisitely sensitive to the surface density profile of the disk and its termination profile. The generation of the 37 galaxy velocity profiles presented in this paper assumed that most of the galactic mass is in the disk, and gravity is Newtonian. A best-fit algorithm was used to generate the curves of Figures 1 and 3 – 38 using a truncated log-normal surface density distribution function. The log-normal models closely matched the shape of observational rotation velocities, and the predicted masses for these curves fitted a baryonic Tully-Fisher relation reasonably well over a wide range of galaxy sizes, from LSB galaxies to massive high-luminosity disks.”

  32. p.g.sharrow says:

    @dai; I ‘created” my universe long before I heard of Randell Mills. Good thing! every time I try to read him my mind gos numb and eyes glaze over.

    You want to claim “mass is a stress or tensor in the fabric of space”, Fine by me 🙂 As far as I can see, Mater causes a stress or tension in the electrostatic fabric of space or the Aether This is manifest as mass/inertia and gravity. The warpage of the dielectric in the atomic structure gives the same result no matter how you cause it. So gravity, acceleration or static charge demonstrate the same results.

    My experiment to “confuse inertia” with complex EMF continues as time and money permits. As I’m an electrician and not an Electrical Engineer design mistakes must be corrected as I make them and learn. Those Oatmeal Cookies are morning fuel. 2 and a cup of coffee is morning Breakfast. Now the Peanut Cookies are the real treat! Really difficult to eat… 1..;-) …pg

  33. dai davies says:

    I looked up one of Mills’ references (Labov & Bowyer) to see if he actually had accounted for extreme UV lines they reported in the extra-galactic background radiation – evidence that dark matter was hydrinos. To put it politely, I can’t agree with his interpretation of their data. His critics are so lame in their ‘it doesn’t agree with our consensus view of QM’ that I wish he was right.

    McGaugh leave open the modified gravity (MOND) vs dark matter question – “Whether this is a situation in which it would be necessary to invent MOND if it did not already exist is worthy of contemplation.” Their key result – that dark matter must distribute well with normal matter – narrows the options down for DM proponents. It’s an impressive piece of work. I wonder if the results will hold out for a larger set of galaxies.

  34. p.g.sharrow says:

    I think that Dark mater/energy are not real things but are manifestations of the Aether’s effects on regular ,visible, mater. If the effects of mass/inertia are external to mater, the result of mater stressing the Aether, then it would appear that deep space contains “Dark” mater to account for the overall mass/gravity that we see effecting regular visible mater…pg

  35. dai davies says:

    “manifestations of the Aether’s effects on regular ,visible, mater” MOND?

    My reaction to hearing mention of DM was that it was Cosmologists creating new story lines – like multiverses which I think is meaningless tosh – playing games with mathematical equations. Or just trying to prop up zombie theories like the Big Bang creation myth. A minor adjustment to the laws of gravity for large distances seems like a simpler explanation.

    Cosmology is mysticism. Astronomy is real empirical science.

  36. Einstein was right.Energy accumulated around galaxies due to gravitational time dilation. Only 1/3 of the upper limit of the density of neutrinos in the universe is needed to make this paper model work.

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