Special Reviews

The Dark Halo of the Milky Way

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Science  07 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5450, pp. 74-79
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5450.74

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Abstract

Most of the matter in the Milky Way is invisible to astronomers. Precise numbers are elusive, but it appears that the dark component is 20 times as massive as the visible disk of stars and gas. This dark matter is distributed in space differently than the stars, forming a vast, diffuse halo, more spherical than disklike, which occupies more than 1000 times the volume of the disk of stars. The composition of this dark halo is unknown, but it may comprise a mixture of ancient, degenerate dwarf stars and exotic, hypothetical elementary particles.

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