PerspectiveAstronomy

Galaxy motions cause trouble for cosmology

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Science  02 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6375, pp. 520-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar7375

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Summary

According to the widely accepted dark energy plus cold dark matter (ΛCDM) model, dark matter is responsible for both the growth of cosmological structures and the motions of galaxies relative to the expansion of the universe. The dynamics of small galaxies orbiting larger ones provides a crucial window into this mysterious dark matter, which leaves its gravitational mark throughout the universe but has not yet been detected directly. On page 534 of this issue, Müller et al. (1) describe observations of satellite galaxies around Centaurus A, the largest galaxy system in the vicinity of the Milky Way. The results may lead to either a better understanding of galaxy formation within the ΛCDM model or a push to overthrow its underlying assumptions.