Indian-American professor developed Galacto-Seismic method to hunt Dark Matter

Jan 13, 2016 09:09 IST

An international team of scientists led by Indian-American Sukanya Chakrabarti devised a new method, galactoseismology, to detect dwarf galaxies dominated by dark matter. The method also explains ripples on the outer disk of the galaxy.

Sukanya Chakrabarti, an assistant professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, presented her findings at a press conference hosted by the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee on 7 January 2016. Findings were submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The discovered method use waves in the galactic disk to map the interior structure and mass of galaxies, much similar to seismologist who uses seismic waves to gather details about the interior of the earth. This method will help in the hunt for the mysterious space phenomenon.

In the process, the team used the spectroscopic observations to calculate the speed of three Cepheid variables in the Norma constellation. Cepheid variables are the stars that are used as yardsticks to calculate the distance of galaxies.

The team used Cepheid variables to locate the dark matter dominated dwarf galaxy some 3 lakh light years away. In contrast, the disk of Milky Way Galaxy terminates some 48000 light years away from earth.

The study tracks a cluster of Cepheid variables which are travelling at an average speed of 450000 miles per hour (MPH), that is, 437000 MPH faster than the stars in stellar disk of the Milky Way.

Later they explained that the radial velocity is the proof they have been looking for, and it can be concluded that it is not a part of our galaxy.

Dark Matter
Dark Matter is a hypothetical kind of matter that can’t be seen with telescopes but make up about 85 percent of the mass of the universe. It is one of the biggest quirks of modern day physics and has not been understood completely.

The existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, on radiation, and on the large-scale structure of the universe. Dark matter has not been detected directly, making it one of the greatest mysteries in modern astrophysics.

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