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Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Monster Galaxies Found Wrapped Within Dark Matter Web

Monster galaxies are believed to form inside dark matter webs.

(Photo : ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)) Monster galaxies are believed to form inside dark matter webs.

Astronomers have detected a concentrated knot of monster galaxies undergoing a massive, energetic stellar transformation, enshrouded in dark matter, based on new observations from the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/sub millimeter Array (ALMA) telescopes.

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Our universe is filled with a web of dark matter appearing to be a massive 3D structure where galaxies and galaxy clusters are intertwined together. Dark matter cannot be observed directly, and it does not interact with light although its presence is manifested through gravitational forces that can influence space-time. This invisible mass also accounts for almost 85 percent of all the matter in the known universe.

This dark matter web is crucial for understanding how this influences the earliest galaxies from the dawn of time, after the Big Bang event. This can also provide better information about the structure of the current universe and how it evolved, via these starburst galaxies in colossal clusters, embedded in dark matter. These ancient galaxy clusters formed some 11.5 billion years ago, and could also provide clues why these monster galaxies do not exist anymore today.

Scientists still find it challenging to observe the earliest galaxies. Starburst galaxies appeared during the earliest stages of the universe where they have become hard to observe as they contain massive amounts of dust, obscuring views. Their locations are hard to pin accurately by radio telescopes as well. ALMA is highly sensitive to submillimeter emissions and this is why these galaxies were picked up on Earth.

These nine massive galaxies were targeted from a small sky patch in the constellation Aquarius where astronomers were able to compare their locations with data from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's (NAOJ) Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment (ASTE) where observations were also compared in visible light with NAOJ's Subaru Telescope.

Based on the survey of the region by Subaru and ASTE, astronomers were able to determine the general shape of this galaxy cluster. With these measurements, the gravitational location of the massive dark matter intersection was revealed by ALMA where the galaxies are found to be inside a knot of this dark matter, as filaments intersect with each other.

This new study provides more crucial evidence how most of the massive galaxies found in the universe are more often that not, formed within concentrations of dark matter. This study is published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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