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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Dwarf Galaxies Orbiting the Milky Way Could Contain Dark Matter

Dwarf galaxy

(Photo : Fermilab/Dark Energy Survey) This object sits roughly 100,000 light-years from Earth, and contains very few stars – only about 300 could be detected with DES data.

There are a lot of smaller galaxies surrounding the Milky Way. Scientists now confirm some of these could be rare dwarf galaxies that harbor immense amounts of dark matter.

Dwarf galaxies are considered the smallest galaxies in the Universe but scientists also believe they possess massive quantities of dark matter, which is thought to make up most of the mass of the Universe.

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Dark matter does exist but scientists still have no tangible proof of it. Scientists have only detected dark matter from the effects it has on other stellar objects.

The Milky Way holds a large amount of dark matter in its satellite galaxies, said Alex Drlica-Wagner from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) located near Chicago.

Also, satellite galaxies contain matter that doesn't originate from their stars, which suggests the presence of dark matter.

Proof of dark matter found in dwarf galaxies can be linked to the gamma rays they emit when particles of dark matter destroy each other.

These small galaxies are also rare due to their size and low content of stars, which makes it hard for astronomers to detect.

They each contain fewer than 100 stars that are one billion times dimmer compared to the Milky Way. Apart from that, they also contain one million times less mass than our galaxy from a distance of 100,000 light years.

Searching for dwarf galaxies is a challenging task. The Dark Energy Survey's camera, which is the worlds' highest resolution camera at 570 megapixels, this camera can take photos of images as far away as eight billion light years away from our planet.

The Dark Energy Survey camera is mounted on the Victor M. Blanco telescope located in Chile. The camera's mission is to survey the southern sky and reveal details never before seen from ground telescopes.

This mission could last up to five years and will help astronomers and scientists find the elusive evidence of dark matter, which is also thought to cause the Universe's ever expanding qualities.

The Dark Energy Camera is the perfect instrument for discovering small satellite galaxies as it has a very large field of view that can quickly map the sky with great sensitivity, leading to the detection very faint stars, according to Keith Bechtol from the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics of the University of Chicago.

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