Unknown dark object appears to have ripped a hole in the Milky Way

Unknown dark object appears to have ripped a hole in the Milky Way

  • An enormous “Something” appears to have torn a hole in part of the Milky Way’s halo.
  • Bonaca is a leading authority on how the tidal field of the Milky Way galaxy disrupts globular clusters, and what the resulting debris can tell us about the underlying distribution of dark matter.
  • “It’s much more massive than a star. Something like a million times the mass of the sun. So there are just no stars of that mass. We can rule that out. And if it were a black hole, it would be a supermassive black hole of the kind we find at the center of our own galaxy.”
  • Bonaca noticed there was a hole in one as she presented at the recent American Physical Society conference in Denver during her talk on Dynamical Evidence for a Dark Substructure in the Milky Way Halo: “The on-sky morphology suggests a recent, close encounter with a massive and dense perturber,” an abstract to her work reported.
  • Telescope observations do not show any large luminous object moving away from the hole, which led Bonaca to suggest the perturbation could have been made by dark matter.
  • The discovery of a dark matter “Bullet” would also fit with current predictions about what dark matter is like-research suggests it is “Clumpy,” in that it is not smooth and evenly distributed around the universe.
  • Identifying a clump of dark matter “Opens up the possibility that detailed observations of streams could measure the mass spectrum of dark-matter substructures and even identify individual substructures,” her abstract concludes.