Existence of dark matter questioned by new observations

Posted: February 6, 2018 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, research, Uncertainty

Image credit: phys.org

When does absence of evidence become evidence of absence? Dark matter has never been detected despite years of effort. Here we have ‘a universal phenomenon that demands new explanations’, says the lead researcher. Galaxies in disc-shaped planes appear to mirror what we see with solar systems – like ours – and their planets.

An international team of astronomers led by the University of Basel in Switzerland has looked at the movement and distribution of satellite galaxies in the constellation Centaurus A and finds that their observations call into question the existence of dark matter, says The Space Reporter.

The findings are reported in the journal Science.

Dark matter is a hypothetical type of invisible matter that has never been directly observed because it does not emit or interact with electromagnetic radiation. Its existence has been inferred by its apparent influences on visible matter and light.

According to the standard model of cosmology, which assumes the existence of dark matter, these satellite galaxies ought to be distributed randomly and should orbit their host galaxies in a disordered way.

A few years ago, however, astronomers observing the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies found “satellite galaxies are arranged in disc-shaped planes around the host galaxy and co-rotate within such planes,” according to a university statement.

At first, astronomers considered these organized structures to be isolated cases. But now, new observations by a team led by Oliver Müller at the University of Basel’s Department of Physics suggest they are much more common than previously believed.

“Coherent movement seems to be a universal phenomenon that demands new explanations,” says Müller, in the statement.

Continued here.
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The Conversation: Dance of galaxies challenges current thinking on cosmology

  1. ivan says:

    When your model starts to break it is time that you should start thinking about what you are missing and asking why the universe doesn’t fit your preconceived ideas. If you don’t do that you will never learn and science will never advance.

    The problem is that there has been too much unquestioning reliance on Einstein’s theory rather than questioning it as we learn more.

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘should orbit their host galaxies in a disordered way’

    Because…dark matter? It’s looking like a fail.

  3. A C Osborn says:

    It has always been a “fail”, that is why they had to “invent” dark Energy to go with it.
    They have been heading in the wrong direction for decades and just keep inventing “add ons” to explain why observations do not meet their theories, but they can’t give it up and admit they are wrong.
    There are many “fringe” Scientists who have been saying they are wrong and showing why for many years, but they are marginalised by the mainstream.
    Just like Climate Science.

  4. Damian says:

    The best evidence yet that this rotation is caused by magnetic fields.
    Reminds Me of Saturn’s rings.


  5. Damian says:

    Saturn’s rings rotate at radically different speeds.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Damian – the rings do vary in rotation speed but it’s within a narrow range, say 10h 30m – 10 h 50m approx. The exact rotation rate of Saturn itself is still not finally determined but is thought to be in that range.

    – – –
    ACO – yes, preferring theory to empirical observation can become perverse if not corrected.

  7. JB says:

    All this fuss because of Jan Oort’s Discrepancy. Don’t go back and look at the assumptions and eliminate those that are erroneous. Just keep adding a dash of one kind of seasoning or another until it seems to be palatable. The 20th century was an age of synthetics and substitutions for the genuine article.

    This dark stuff was conjured to explain the presumed missing mass. There never has been any missing mass. Only a faulty approach to establishing mass which to be resolved collapses the entire structure of relationships between distance, luminosity, and redshift. I first read about the problems of redshift in the early 60s as an adolescent, and could not understand then how an intellectually honest scientist could fall for such circular rationalizations as that.

    For instance, mass is measured in kilograms? By weight? Come on.

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    Mass/Inertia is the resistance to changes in motion/acceleration. It holds true for Energy as well as Mater. I my opinion this EMF (Electro-Motive-Force) field is external to Mater and exists in the stuff of space. Charge in chaos that carries the information of organizational energy that passes thru it. If this is true Gravity is just another manifestation of EMF caused by the, positive low charge organizational influence of Mater, on the chaos high charge, of space. Aether, Dark Mater/Energy, call it what you will. There ain’t nothing in space! Space is jam packed full with something. Energy in chaos. An Ocean of something that carries EMF and gives the information of wave/particle to us that we call “Photons” in their detection…pg

  9. TA says:

    I don’t see anything in this article that would change the Dark Matter speculation.

    from the article: “It is possible the movements of these coordinated star systems were created by the merging of galaxies an explanation that could fit with the current understanding of dark matter, says co-author Marcel Pawlowski, an astrophysicist at the University of California Irvine, in a report by the Los Angeles Times.”

    I’m not promoting Dark Matter, but this article does not call it into question, imo.

  10. Hum says:

    Check Randall Mills theory that this is below ground state hydrogen. The EUV spectrum does support his theory. BTW he also predicted accelerated expansion of the universe before it was observed.

  11. I scoped the stars both bright and fair,
    I saw dark matter wasn’t there.
    It wasn’t there again today.
    I wish to heck it’d go away.

    Sorry! must get out more.

  12. Bitter@twisted says:

    MOND provides a useful explanation for many of dark matter’s fails.

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    We know what Dark Mater/Energy is. We see it every day.
    We call it LIGHT! Photonic energy. The thing that is both wave and particle, Energy and Mater.
    It is right there in front of us, the GOD particle/wave. A.Einstein knew, understanding the true nature of light was the key to everything else. He just got lost along the way into a box canyon of reason based on incorrect Assumptions/Facts of others…pg

  14. oldbrew says:

    The article from The Conversation [link above] says:

    However, the chance of seeing a large number of satellite galaxies rotating in the same direction, such as those around Centaurus A, is less than 0.5%. This means it is not impossible, but if we find too many such cases, the standard model would have to be rethought. In addition to the new study, we know of two other cases where that happens (also in Milky Way and Andromeda). So by now there are already three such examples in a sample of observations that is not yet very large.

    ‘Less than 0.5% chance’ but ‘already three such examples’ looks ominous for dark matter theorists.

    Re ‘impossible’: they say they can’t detect 95% of the matter in the universe?

  15. USteiner says:

    Inventing things like “Dark matter” to explain things which can’t be explained otherwise by current theory has happened before:

    There was the “Phlogiston” theory, stuff inherent in everything which could be burned. Now we can explain it with oxidation.

    Later we had the “Ether”, stuff filling out the empty space between the celestial objects to explain why light waves could move in the universe. Now we can explain it with electromagnetic waves can actually propagate through truly empty space.

    Today we are questioning the existence of Dark matter, another one of those helper things.

    The Big Bang is yet another one of those helper ideas, and it has also been questioned. String theories yet another (dubious, in my mind) effort to explain various phenomena.

    In climatology the aerosols were loaded with abilities to explain why the CO2 does not warm the earth as much as “theory” suggests the CO2 would do. (This can easily explained also by assuming that CO2 is not warming the earth in the first place!)

    So, in history we have seen the helper ideas being used to explain various things. Those were given up, when better explanations were available.

    Though things are really being held up, when religious beliefs come into play. See Galileo, and see climatology!

  16. Philip Foster (Revd) says:

    USteiner says:
    “Though things are really being held up, when religious beliefs come into play. See Galileo,..”

    It may sound strange to say this, but I doubt there would have been, or be, any scientific progress without the Judaeo-Christian baseline input; alone in the whole world to propose that God created a rational universe; “In the begining was the LOGOS.” The Greeks could not do science properly (and the importation of Greek ideas put much much of Europe off the right track for a while – taking the RC Church with it, at least in part) because they had no consistent belief in the LOGOS (despite it being a Greek word!). Galileo (yes he was), Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Maxwell, Faraday, Pasteur, Kelvin, all Christians and Planck & Einstein believed strongly in God, to name but a few.
    This is not to deny that some Christians, at various time, have attacked scientific discoveries rather foolishly. But also atheists have tended exaggerate this and try to associate Christianity with being ‘anti-science’.

  17. stpaulchuck says:

    I’ve been reading about the electric universe and that makes a whole lot more sense than magical dark this and dark that. I believe one of the YouTube efforts is Cosmic Plasma. There are a number of others explaining the phenomena.

  18. oldbrew says:

    Wherever they find magnetism they must be finding electricity, unless the universe is full of bar magnets 😎

    As a consequence of Einstein’s theory of special relativity, electricity and magnetism are fundamentally interlinked. Both magnetism lacking electricity, and electricity without magnetism, are inconsistent with special relativity

  19. Ian Wilson says:

    If you look at the centripetal acceleration of disk (i.e. spiral) galaxies (i.e. the force holding the spinning galaxies together) in nearby Huchra and Gellar galaxy groups, you find that spread of values for the centripetal acceleration (Ac) of any given galaxy increases exponentially as the separation between itself its nearby companion spiral galaxy decreases. This increase in Ac with decreasing separation for spiral galaxies with apparent spiral companions does not occur in galaxies that are NOT in Huchra and Gellar (HG) galaxy groups i.e. for spirals that are identified as field galaxies.

    The telling thing is that exponential increase in Ac for HG galaxies starts taking place when the spiral galaxy pairs are separated by 1.0 mega parsecs (= 3.26 million light years).

    I believe that these observations support the existence of dark matter in HG spiral galaxies.

    How? Taking the local group of galaxies which is a Huchra and Geller galaxy group consisting of three relatively large spirals. The local group of galaxies consists of the:

    ________________________________________(Mega parsecs)__(Kilo parsecs)

    ___Milky Way_______________SB(s)bc_____________0____________100-150
    ___Whirlpool (M33)__________ SA(s)cd____________0.88___________60.

    So, even though the edges of the Andromeda (M31) galaxy and the Milky Way are separated by 0.6 mega parsecs, these two galaxies already mutually interacting. It is difficult imagine how this could take place if each galaxy was not surrounded by a large massive dark-matte halo.

  20. Ian Wilson says:

    oldbrew, My posts are being blocked. I post them once and nothing appears here. I try posting it again and it says that it a duplicate post. How do I get around this?

    [reply] sorry IW, looks like a spam filter glitch – comment retrieved. Suspect long underline is the cause e.g. ‘excessive’ repetition of a character.

  21. oldbrew says:

    RE ‘It is difficult imagine how this could take place if each galaxy was not surrounded by a large massive dark-matter halo’

    Lack of detection still a problem though?

  22. carol smith says:

    For an alternative to the electric sun model see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehgJY06sbwU&feature=youtu.be … a plasma sun.

  23. oldbrew says:

    They keep trying…

    New theory of dark matter based on the detection of unusual X-ray radiation from galaxies
    February 8, 2018

    According to common theory, dark matter must exist because otherwise stars would not continue to rotate around the center of their galaxies as they in fact do.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2018-02-theory-dark-based-unusual-x-ray.html

    Planetary systems are also disk-shaped, with bodies rotating (orbiting) around the central star, including ours. Where’s the dark matter?

  24. Ian Wilson says:


    LOGIC sometimes leads you to conclude that something is there even if you do not see it. For two thousand years the humans could not see individual atoms but LOGIC (i.e. crystal structure) told them that they did in fact exist. I was just pointing out if the force that binds spiral galaxies together (i.e. the centripetal force = gravitational force) is modified long before the point where two spiral galaxies come into contact, it LOGICALLY tells you that spiral galaxies must be considerably larger than what we can see. Hence, dark matter.

  25. oldbrew says:

    IW: I thought they had found evidence that such links were magnetic, or electromagnetic?

    “The radio emission from the distant galaxies served as background ‘flashlights’ that shine through the Bridge,” says Kaczmarek. “Its magnetic field then changes the polarization of the radio signal. How the polarized light is changed tells us about the intervening magnetic field.”

    They have noted this field is one million times stronger than the magnetic shield that surrounds our planet. How this connection was either formed, or ripped from interaction between the two dwarf galaxies, still remains elusive.


  26. Ian Wilson says:


    Magnetism is not something magical. If two galaxies are separated by 0.6 Mega Parsecs
    and they are only 0.1 to 0.2 Mega parsecs in diameter, they should not be interacting if they are that far apart. Remember the strength of a magnetic field produced by a dipole drops off as 1/R^3. Tidal forces do the same, while direct gravitational forces drop off as 1/R^2. However, you find that the maximum possible centripetal acceleration of a spiral galaxy in a Huchra and Gellar group already starts increasing when the nearby companion comes closer than 1.0 Mega parsecs.

  27. oldbrew says:

    Magnetism requires electricity, so we’d have to ask where the electricity is coming from.


    Bearing in mind that “satellite galaxies are arranged in disc-shaped planes around the host galaxy and co-rotate within such planes” as the study in the blog post says.

  28. Ian Wilson says:


    There is the possibility that spiral galaxies pairs in Huchra & Gellar (HG) galaxy groups show “evidence” of massive dark halos, while spiral galaxy pairs in the field (i.e. outside of HG groups) do not, for the simple reason that HG spiral groups have an underlying background medium that is low in overall density but extensive in size. Magnetic fields are almost certainly embedded within this extensive medium. The question then becomes, which of these two controls the dynamics of this medium.

    It is much like the problem with the solar wind. Close in towards the Sun, the Sun’s magnetic field controls the dynamics of particle motion because magnetic energy density dominates (e.g. solar flares, coronal mass ejections etc.). However, as you move away from the Sun, the particle energy density starts to dominate and the steady state stellar wind flow begins to dominate.

    You would have to do the calculations to which regime dominates in the inter-galactic environment of HG spiral galaxy groups.

  29. oldbrew says:

    Intergalactic magnetic fields

    Magnetic fields that spread far beyond the galaxies that created them represent a significant, and only recently revealed, component of the cosmic energy budget.


  30. oldbrew says:

    Right on cue?

    Astrophysicists settle cosmic debate on magnetism of planets and stars
    February 9, 2018, University of Chicago

    Confirming decades of numerical simulations, the experiment revealed that turbulent plasma could dramatically boost a weak magnetic field up to the magnitude observed by astronomers in stars and galaxies.

    “We now know for sure that turbulent dynamo exists, and that it’s one of the mechanisms that can actually explain magnetization of the universe,” said Petros Tzeferacos, research assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics and associate director of the Flash Center. “This is something that we hoped we knew, but now we do.”
    . . .
    “This work opens up the opportunity to verify experimentally ideas and concepts about the origin of magnetic fields in the universe that have been proposed and studied theoretically over the better part of a century,” said Fausto Cattaneo, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago and a co-author of the paper.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2018-02-astrophysicists-cosmic-debate-magnetism-planets.html

  31. oldbrew says:

    No sign of dark matter, so…

    Scientists Are Hunting for the ‘Dark Photon’—a Portal to the Dark Universe
    By Ryan F. Mandelbaum on 10 Feb 2018

    After analysing data, they couldn’t find dark photons with masses between 10GeV and 70GeV that immediately decay into the muon pair (a Higgs Boson weighs around 125GeV). They also didn’t find a signal for longer-lived particles that weigh between 214 and 350 MeV (a proton weighs a little less than 1,000 MeV), the first such search for these longer-lived dark photons.
    . . .
    …this dark photon search, which has already been going on for a long time, will probably continue. “Dark photon searches are simultaneously straightforward and challenging, straightforward because the concept is general and simple enough that designing experimental searches is pretty easy, but challenging because we really have no clue where in parameter space the dark photon could live,” he said.

    Given all of the unknowns, physicists really need a sign. Williams said: “Any hook in would really help guide us to what to do next.”


    Sorry, but doesn’t this all sound a bit embarrassing?

  32. p.g.sharrow says:

    “Dark Photon” ? sounds like a contradiction in terms. Not sure they can find something they can’t even define correctly. A Neutrino is close but it travels with a bit of spin.

    A Dark Photon would not spin, or travel, or have detectable energy. But it would demonstrate mass/inertia. Kind of sounds like Aether to me…pg

  33. oldbrew says:

    Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

    Astronomers reveal a new high resolution map [below] of the magnetic field lines in gas and dust swirling around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy, published in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    – – –
    No magnetism without electricity.


    – – –
    The four ‘connected’ stars (yellow lines) look to be about the same distance apart.