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Stony Brook researchers discover 854 ultra-dark galaxies  
A team of researchers from Stony Brook University and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) have discovered 854 "ultra-dark galaxies" in the Coma Cluster by analyzing data from the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope. The new discovery, published in the June 2015 edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, surpasses the 2014 discovery of 47 mysterious dark galaxies by more than 800 and suggests that galaxy clusters are the key environment for the evolution of these mysterious dark galaxies.

"The findings suggests that these galaxies appear very diffuse and are very likely enveloped by something very massive, "said Jin Koda, PhD, principal investigator of the study and Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University. The ultra-dark galaxies are similar in size to the Milky Way, but have only 1/1,000 of stars that our galaxy does. The stellar population within such fluffy extended galaxies is subject to rapid disruption due to a strong tidal force detected within the cluster. "We believe that something invisible must be protecting the fragile star systems of these galaxies, something with a high mass," said Dr. Koda. "That 'something' is very likely an excessive amount of dark matter." The component of visible matter, such as stars, is calculated to contribute only one percent or less to the total mass of each galaxy. The rest - dark matter - accounts for more than 99 percent.

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2015-06-22

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