|Dark matter – shown in red – may have been less concentrated in
the early universe (right) than in the present-day universe (left)
, according to new observations.
Artist’s concept via ESO/L. Calçada.
Surprising new observations of distant galaxies suggest that dark matter was less influential in the early universe than it is today.
The first direct evidence of dark matter appeared in the late 1970s, when Vera Rubin and Kent Ford of the Carnegie Institution of Washington observed the Andromeda Galaxy to be rotating all wrong. Stars and gas at its edges were moving just as fast as stars and gas near its center.
Modern cosmology has embraced the idea of dark matter. Now, for example, astronomers believe that galaxies are made in a process whereby dark matter merges and clumps together. Galaxies and dark matter go hand in hand, like cake and ice cream, or love and marriage. That’s why it’s so surprising that new observations with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescopein Chile indicate massive star-forming disk galaxies in the early universe were less influenced by dark matter than galaxies today.