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[1]
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Right ascension02h 41m 46.8s[2]
Declination−08° 24′ 12″[2]
Distance19.0 ± 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 (UDG) 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 20 March 2019, a follow-up study announcing the discovery of a second UDG lacking dark matter, NGC 1052-DF4, was published.[4]


Initial observations of NGC 1052-DF2 used its surface brightness fluctuation to estimate its distance at 20 Mpc.[5] 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.[6][7][8][9]

On 3 June 2019, however, a separate team used a full observing dataset on the same object to review this claim. They proposed that the distance to the galaxy may be different, and that it may contain dark matter after all.[10]

A more recent study on NGC 1052-DF2 suggested the previously reported distance of the galaxy may have been greatly exaggerated. Consequently, the galaxy appeared to look "normal" in every way.[citation needed] 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.[11] The total mass of the galaxy was around one-half of the mass estimated previously, but the mass of its stars was only about one-quarter of the previously estimated mass. This implied a significant part of NGC 1052-DF2 could be made up of dark matter, like any other galaxy.

Follow-up observations using Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys imaging measured the tip of the red-giant branch distance to NGC 1052-DF2, which IAC researchers detected at 13 Mpc, to be 22.1±1.2 Mpc, consistent with earlier surface brightness fluctuation measurements. [12] The distance to NGC 1052-DF2 and its consequences for interpreting observations of the galaxy remain disputed.

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.[13][14] 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.[14]

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.[15] However, a follow-up study on 20 March 2018 and a new discovery of a second ultra diffuse galaxy, NGC 1052-DF4, also apparently lacking dark matter, challenges the prior study's conclusion.[16] In June 2021 further observations by Hubble have confirmed NGC 1052-DF2 as deficient in dark matter.[17][18]

Other similar galaxies[edit]

Astronomers discovered a second Galaxy with no dark matter, NGC 1052-DF4,[19] which is another 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 may be higher than cosmologists previously thought.[20]

Another group of astronomers have found the existence of tidal tails in NGC 1052-DF4 indicating that the lack of dark matter has been caused by the interaction with a nearby neighbor (a low mass disk galaxy, NGC 1035).[21] The interaction naturally explains the low content of dark matter inferred for this galaxy and reconciles these type of galaxies with our current models of galaxy formation.

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. S2CID 204896124.
  3. ^ a b c "LEDA 3097693". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  4. ^ "unusual galaxies defy dark theory". March 2019.
  5. ^ van Dokkum, P.; Danieli, S.; Cohen, Y.; Merritt, A.; Romanowsky, A.; Abraham, R.; Brodie, J.; Conroy, C.; Lokhorst, D.; Mowla, L.; O'Sullivan, E.; Zhang, J. (29 March 2018). "A galaxy lacking dark matter". Nature. 555 (7698): 629–632. arXiv:1803.10237. Bibcode:2018Natur.555..629V. doi:10.1038/nature25767. PMID 29595770. S2CID 204896124.
  6. ^ Famaey, B.; McGaugh, S.; Milgrom, M. (11 October 2018). "MOND and the dynamics of NGC1052-DF2". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 480 (1): 473–476. arXiv:1804.04167. doi:10.1093/mnras/sty1884.
  7. ^ "Website of one of the authors of a paper regarding NGC 1052-DF2". Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  8. ^ Pierce, Michael; Brodie, Jean P.; Forbes, Duncan A.; Beasley, Michael A.; Proctor, Robert; Strader, Jay (1 April 2005). "Evolutionary history of the elliptical galaxy NGC 1052". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 358 (2): 419–431. arXiv:astro-ph/0501066. Bibcode:2005MNRAS.358..419P. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.08778.x.
  9. ^ McGaugh, Stacy (4 April 2018). "The Dwarf Galaxy NGC 1052-DF2". Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. ^ "Impossible solved the galaxy with no dark matter". June 2019. Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Shen, Z.; Danieli, S.; van Dokkum, P.; Abraham, R.; Brodie, J.; Conroy, C.; Dolphin, A.; Romanowsky, A.; Kruijssen, J.; Chowdhury, D. (9 June 2021). "A Tip of the Red Giant Branch Distance of 22.1±1.2 Mpc to the Dark Matter Deficient Galaxy NGC1052-DF2 from 40 Orbits of Hubble Space Telescope Imaging". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 914 (1): L12. arXiv:2104.03319v2. Bibcode:2021ApJ...914L..12S. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ac0335. S2CID 233181538.
  13. ^ Halton, Mary (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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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. S2CID 56381823.
  16. ^ "Galaxies without dark matter confirmed". Cosmos Magazine.
  17. ^ Shen Z, et al. (17 June 2019). "A Tip of the Red Giant Branch Distance of 22.1 ± 1.2 Mpc to the Dark Matter Deficient Galaxy NGC 1052–DF2 from 40 Orbits of Hubble Space Telescope Imaging". The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 914 (1): L12. arXiv:2104.03319. Bibcode:2021ApJ...914L..12S. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ac0335. ISSN 2041-8205. S2CID 233181538.
  18. ^ "Mystery of galaxy's missing dark matter". Hubble. 17 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Galaxies without dark matter confirmed". Science Alert. April 2019.
  20. ^ arXiv:1901.05973[full citation needed]
  21. ^ arXiv:2010.09719[full citation needed]