Along with many other aspects of our physical reality, dark matter continues to puzzle astronomers. This special type of matter is much more prevalent throughout the Universe than the normal matter that we interact with every day. Dark matter is a crucial component, as it binds the stars inside galaxies.
If we go in the constellation of Ursa Major, we’ll find NGC 5585, a spiral galaxy that captured the attention of astronomers who are in charge of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Unexpected mass for NGC 5585
A great indication of the presence of dark matter is the unexpected amount of mass from a galaxy or cluster of galaxies. As for NGC 5585, scientists were astonished to conclude that the galaxy’s stars and clouds of dust and gas are contributing to a very small part of the total mass. This automatically leads to the idea that NGC 5585 is outrageously loaded with dark matter.
The NGC 5585 galaxy is located at 28 million light-years away from Earth, and it’s a member of the M101 Group. The diameter measures ‘only’ 35,000 light-years, which means that the galaxy is about three times smaller than ours. Among official statements made by Hubble astronomers about the NGC 5585, we see written:
As in many galaxies, this discrepancy can be explained by the abundant yet seemingly invisible presence of dark matter.
When compared with galaxies of a similar shape and size, NGC 5585 stands out by having a notably different composition,
NGC 5585 also has a very diffuse disc that barely features any central bulge. The galaxy also has a very faint spiral arm structure which received a galaxy morphological classification of SAB(s)d.
It’s impossible for astronomers to directly observe dark matter, which is why it’s called ‘dark’. But we can honestly hope for this to change in the near future, judging by the staggering pace that science evolves.