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Dark Galaxies

Essay by   •  December 31, 2010  •  Essay  •  3,155 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,611 Views

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The universe is a vast space of mystery and undiscovered concepts and explanations. Science is ever changing, with each discovery comes new theories, as well as advances in technology. The world's knowledge of space is limited with our location and technology. Space in itself is a complex concept to comprehend, let alone dark galaxies, matter and energy. How do scientist know if its there, if it's supposedly invisible and undetectable? Through this paper you will find out all about the history of the discovery of dark matter, and how it began with one young 31 year old scientist wild theory, up until the recent discovery of the first dark galaxy VIRGOH121. It has been a very long and bumpy process, full of many new break throughs, theories and puzzling yet exiting discoveries. You will come to know what Dark Galaxies are and what they are made up of and how we know that they are there.

Dark galaxies and dark matter make up a huge part of our universe, scientist estimate dark matter to be 5x more abundant than baryonic matter, which was once considered to make up a huge part of our universe! A intriguing prediction was made by two very well educated astrologers, Drs Neil Trentham, Ole Moller and Enrico Ramire-Ruiz of the University of Cambridge once stated in a paper that " Dark galaxies outnumber the familiar kind populated by shining stars and gas, perhaps by as many as 500 to 1!" if you take that prediction literally, its very intriguing to think that we had been literally surrounded by millions of dark galaxies and matter that the scientific community had never, until recently could prove, or show evidence of.

The make up of space has been an on going topic since life first started to have culture, and the ability to believe and come to knowledge of things. From as early as the ancient Myans and their belief of gods in the heavens, to Divenci and his educated predictions of spaces purposes. Since telescopes were first invented, scientist have been making predictions about how things work in space. According to Thomas Kuhn

"Revolutions [in science] can happen on small scales, only effecting a particular sub-community of scientist, or they can happen on large scales, over throwing current knowledge and changing perceptions affecting many scientific disiplins as well as society as a whole. The discovery that most of the mass in our universe is un-accounted for has produced a large-scale affect. "

So like Thomas has exclaimed, science can thought to be totally figured out one second and than shifted the next. The theory of dark matter did just that, what at first started as a silent whisper of a theory, grew into a large ciaos of confusion and new research. It became to known as the "dark matter debate" (dark matter timeline).

The History of dark matter has been going on since the early 1930's. It had started with a physicist named Fritz Zwicky. Who had received a PH.D. in physics from the institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. He started out researching crystals but soon found his passion was for astronomical research at Caltech. He loved cosmic rays and the mystery that came with them. One of his theories created to explain cosmic rays, was that they came from exploding stars. He eventually became partners with German-American astronomer Walter Baade and together came up with three new theories, the one that sprouted Zwickys interest the most was the assumption that when stars eventually explode, they would leave behind cosmic rays along with a bundle of dense neutrons . Although his assumptions were exiting and the new ground he was covering had never been treed upon, many people believed Zwicky to be an unwise 31 year old. The scientific world believed "Zwicky was still very young, especially to make any kind of meaningful discoveries in a field other than his own.". But according to Thomas Kuhn, the author of "revolutionary mind" he claims that men such as Zwicky "have been very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change" (Kuhn 90). So with new inspirations Zwicky started to explore more out of his field and soon started to investigate the velocities of galaxies. With his new data he found that the galaxies are moving faster then expected. He found, before taking into consideration the possibility of dark matter , that there was not enough matter to "gravitationally bind the speeding galaxies to one another" (Bartusuak 196). Despite the undoubtedly facts Zwicky presented, the astronomical community "nevertheless, discounted his discovery". (dark matter time line). Zwicky wrote that there must be invisible matter of some sort holding the galaxies together. His revolutionary idea about invisible matter which he called "dunkle materie" (original germane context) along with this idea he was showing that "matter although invisible, can still be demonstrated through its gravitational clout" (Bartusiak 197). So really at first the only way dark matter could be detected was through gravitational pulls and effects that it had on matter and objects around it. Zwicky was soon forgotten in the scientific community.

Other scientist began to appear, claiming to have the same sort of theories Zwicky tried to fight for years ago. Scientist such as Vera Rubin, who was not only very young, merely 22, but a female, aroused some of the almost forgotten debates of dark matter. When she announced her observations also confirming that galaxies had been displaying "extra motion, depart from cosmological expansion" But just like Zwicky, her work was shunned and discarded. Until 14 years later when Vera was thirty six years old, did her work become recognized. At that time she had been working with W. Kent Fort a physicist like herself and a astronomical designer, at the department of Terrestrial Magnetism. By than she had received her PHD and was studying the weird nature of galaxies that had puzzled herself and the scientific community almost 20 years ago. But this time was not like the last. This time they used Fords experiments with measuring the rotations of galaxies to prove their theory. They did this by Fords development of the Carnegie image tube, which was a huge advantage over other astronomers, for galaxies measuring methods and data were sparse. Bartusiak exclaimed "they could record a spectrum in just two to three hours rather than months upon

years". With this ability Vera and ford were able to study hundreds of galaxies, comparing and analyzing in great detail. After presenting to people who had interest Vera exclaimed "I think we learn more with our eyes and the visual impression of seeing the rotation curves was so striking that it was relatively

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