An international team of scientists predict that our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains a disk of ‘dark matter’, in a paper published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Astronomers Dr. Justin Read, Professor George Lake and Oscar Agertz of the University of Zurich, and Dr. Victor Debattista of the University of Central Lancashire used the results of a supercomputer simulation to deduce the presence of this disk. They explain how it could allow physicists to directly detect and identify the nature of dark matter for the first time.
Unlike the familiar ‘normal’ matter that makes up stars, gas and dust, ‘dark’ matter is invisible but its presence can be inferred through its gravitational influence on its surroundings. Physicists believe that it makes up 22% of the mass of the Universe (compared with the 4% of normal matter and 74% comprising the mysterious ‘dark energy’). But, despite its pervasive influence, no one is sure what dark matter consists of.