News FocusAstronomy

A Dark Matter Candidate Loses Its Luster

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Science  17 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5375, pp. 332-333
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5375.332

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More than 2 years ago, a team of astronomers announced that the flashing of distant stars implied that the mysterious "dark matter" that makes up most of our galaxy is swarming around the visible disk of the Milky Way in a huge halo of dark chunks, which occasionally pass between the stars and ground-based telescopes. Now, several teams have found that the unseen objects might actually be dim stars in the Magellanic Clouds--nearby, dwarf galaxies that had been used as the backdrop to reveal the objects--and not dark matter in the Milky Way at all. One of astronomy's great mysteries, it seems, is still unsolved.