NGC 1052-DF2

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NGC 1052-DF2
NGC 1052-DF2 a ghostly galaxy lacking dark matter.jpg
Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 1052-DF2 show lack of dark matter[1]
Observation data
Right ascension 02h 41m 46.8s[2]
Declination−08° 24′ 12″[2]
Distance (comoving)19.0 ± 1.7 Mpc (62.0 ± 5.5 Mly)[2]
Mass2×108[2] M
Apparent size (V)1.20′ × 1.12′[3]
Other designations
PGC 3097693[3]

NGC 1052-DF2 is an ultra diffuse galaxy in the constellation Cetus, which was identified in a wide-field imaging survey of the NGC 1052 group by the Dragonfly Telephoto Array.[2] It has been proposed that the galaxy contains little or no dark matter, the first such discovery. On March 20, 2019, a follow-up study announcing the discovery of a second UDG lacking dark matter, DF4, was published. [4]


The distance to the galaxy from Earth, derived by surface brightness fluctuation, is 19 1.7 Mpc. Due to close proximity, it is assumed to be associated with the elliptical galaxy NGC 1052 and to lie at a distance of about 80 Kpc from NGC 1052.[5][6][7][8].

In June 3rd, 2019 however, a separate team used a full observing dataset on the same object to review this claim, and found out that the actual distance of the galaxy was different, and that it may contain dark matter after all.[9]

A more recent study on NGC 1052-DF2 suggests the previously reported distance of the galaxy was greatly exaggerated. Consequently, the galaxy now looks "normal" in every way. Using five independent methods to estimate distances of heavenly bodies, a team of researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) found the correct distance of NGC 1052-DF2 to be 42 million light years (13 MPc), not some 64 million light years (19 MPc) from the Earth.[10] The total mass of the galaxy is around one-half of the mass estimated previously, but the mass of its stars is only about one-quarter of the previously estimated mass. This implies a significant part of NGC 1052-DF2 could be made up of dark matter, like any other galaxies.

Dark matter[edit]

The apparent lack of dark matter in NGC 1052-DF2 may help prove that dark matter is real: if what appears to be dark matter is really just a currently unknown effect of the gravity of ordinary matter then this apparent dark matter should also appear in this galaxy. Further study will be needed before this and any other possible implications can be confirmed.[11][12] If confirmed, the absence of dark matter may also have implications for theories of galaxy formation, as dark matter has been thought to be needed for galaxy formation.[12]

A later study purports to show that the galaxy may contain more dark matter than initially reported. It may have a mass-to-light ratio towards the low end of expected values for a dwarf galaxy. [13] However, a follow-up study on March 20, 2018 and a new discovery of a second UDG, NGC 1052-DF4, also apparently lacking dark matter challenge this study's conclusion.[14]

Other similar galaxies[edit]

Same as NGC 1052-DF2, Astronomers discovered a second Galaxy with no dark matter[15] NGC 1052-DF4, is an ultra-diffuse galaxy - quite large, spread-out, and faint to observe. Discovering another galaxy with very little to no dark matter means the chances of finding more of these galaxies are now higher than cosmologists previously thought.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hubble finds first galaxy in the local Universe without dark matter". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Van Dokkum, Pieter; Danieli, Shany; Cohen, Yotam; Merritt, Allison; Romanowsky, Aaron J; Abraham, Roberto; Brodie, Jean; Conroy, Charlie; Lokhorst, Deborah; Mowla, Lamiya; o'Sullivan, Ewan; Zhang, Jielai (2018). "A galaxy lacking dark matter". Nature. 555 (7698): 629–632. arXiv:1803.10237. Bibcode:2018Natur.555..629V. doi:10.1038/nature25767. PMID 29595770.
  3. ^ a b c "LEDA 3097693". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ B. Famaey, S. McGaugh, M. Milgrom, "MOND and the dynamics of NGC1052-DF2" Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 480, Issue 1, 11 October 2018, Pages 473–476,
  6. ^ Website of one of the authors of a paper regarding NGC1052-DF2 (last reviewed January 21, 2019)
  7. ^ Evolutionary history of the elliptical galaxy NGC 1052 Michael Pierce Jean P. Brodie Duncan A. Forbes Michael A. Beasley Robert Proctor Jay Strader Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 358, Issue 2, 1 April 2005, Pages 419–431,
  8. ^ Stacy McGaugh, "The Dwarf Galaxy NGC1052-DF2" (April 4, 2018) last reviewed January 21 2019)
  9. ^
  10. ^ Trujillo, Ignacio (14 March 2019). "A distance of 13 Mpc resolves the claimed anomalies of the galaxy lacking dark matter". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 486 (1): 1192–1219. arXiv:1806.10141. doi:10.1093/mnras/stz771. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  11. ^ Mary Halton, Science reporter (28 March 2018). "Ghostly galaxy may be missing dark matter". BBC News. Retrieved 29 March 2018. For Mack, the most exciting aspect of this galaxy is its potential to prove that dark matter - until now widely theorised but not directly observed - is real. If dark matter were just an unexplained effect of the gravity from regular matter, its effects would be visible in this galaxy. ... More work remains to be done on this and similar objects before dark matter theory needs to be fundamentally altered, however.
  12. ^ a b "Dark Matter Goes Missing in Oddball Galaxy". NASA. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018. We thought that every galaxy had dark matter and that dark matter is how a galaxy begins," said Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, lead researcher of the Hubble observations. "This invisible, mysterious substance is the most dominant aspect of any galaxy. So finding a galaxy without it is unexpected. It challenges the standard ideas of how we think galaxies work, and it shows that dark matter is real: it has its own separate existence apart from other components of galaxies. This result also suggests that there may be more than one way to form a galaxy.
  13. ^ Martin, Nicolas F; Collins, Michelle L. M; Longeard, Nicolas; Tollerud, Erik (2018). "Current Velocity Data on Dwarf Galaxy NGC 1052-DF2 do not Constrain it to Lack Dark Matter". The Astrophysical Journal. 859 (1): L5. arXiv:1804.04136. Bibcode:2018ApJ...859L...5M. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aac216.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Galaxies without dark matter confirmed.
  16. ^ arxiv:1901.05973