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Illuminating dark galaxies with a cosmic flashlight



Astronomers have used the intense ultraviolet light emitted by quasars to identify six mysterious "dark galaxies" – a find that promises answers to one of the most persistent questions in the field.

Scientists know that this is hot, diffuse X-ray emitting gases that exist between galaxies, known as the intergalactic medium, must play a role in star formation, but the mechanisms of this involvement are unknown.

Leading theory suggests that nascent galaxies contain a large amount of the gas in their childhood but still do not form stars. This was called the hypothetical "dark phase" of galaxy formation and the results known as "dark galaxies." However, finding evidence to support the idea necessarily means finding a galaxy that goes through a dark phase – a thing that's made extremely difficult because such galaxies (if they exist) do not produce or reflect light would be invisible to current detection methods.

However, an article published in the Astrophysical Journal cites a Raffaella team Anna Marino and Sebastiano Cantalupo, both from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, present the preliminary preliminary candidates for observed dark galaxies.

To get their results, the team used the intense ultraviolet light emitted by quasars to emit hydrogen atoms, which causes them to emit a spectral line known as Lyman-alpha – meaning that such atoms become easier to Even though they form part of otherwise dark atoms, entities are recognizable.

Marino and her colleagues used the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, not to benefit from the earliest researchers possible targets far more distant than ever before.

From an initial set of 200 Lyman Alpha emitters, astronomers have finally reduced the field to six, which they call "robust" candidates for dark galaxies.


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