Dwarf Galaxies Loom Large in Quest for Dark Matter
In its inaugural year of observations, the Dark Energy Survey has already turned up at least eight objects that look to be new satellite dwarf galaxies of the Milky Way.
These miniature galaxies — the first discovered in a decade — shine with a mere billionth of our galaxy’s brightness and each contain a million times less mass.
Astronomers believe the vast majority of material in dwarf galaxies is dark matter, a mysterious substance composing 80 percent of all matter in the universe.
Dwarf galaxies have therefore emerged as prime targets for gathering potential clues about dark matter’s composition.
Some theories suggest dark matter particles and antiparticles should produce telltale gamma rays when they collide with each other.
Accordingly, scientists used the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope to study the newfound dwarf galaxy candidates, as well as a group of dwarf galaxies already on the books.
The telescope detected no significant gamma-ray signals from either set of dwarf galaxies, however, leaving scientists still in the hunt for dark matter.
On May 15, 2015, The Kavli Foundation spoke with three astrophysicists about the continuing search for dark matter data in space and how dwarf galaxies can help us understand the evolution of our universe.
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