Astrophysics (index)

Dark Matter

(matter hypothesized to provide galaxies with mass that can't be viewed)

The concept of Dark Matter is used to explain the apparent Gravity of a Galaxy, Galaxy Cluster, or other large structures that can't be explained by the visible and inferred stars, interstellar media and other normal matter. Gravity is inferred by the velocity of the orbiting stars, generally determined by examining Doppler Shifts of the starlight.

The front-line theory is that Dark Matter must consist of otherwise-undiscovered weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) "weakly interacting" meaning, for example, that photons generally don't interact with them, thus we can't see it.

Dark Matter theories are also classified as either Cold Dark Matter, Warm Dark Matter, or Hot Dark Matter.

Without Dark Matter, some other explanation must exist for the apparent matter in galaxies. Theories have been proposed that the known laws of gravity (General Relativity) are only an approximation that breaks down in the regime of galaxies, e.g., Modified Newtonian Dynamics.


Referenced by:
Astronomical Quantities
Axion (A0)
Bullet Cluster
Cold Dark Matter (CDM)
Computational Astrophysics
Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS)
Critical Density (ρc)
Conditional Stellar Mass Function (CSMF)
Dark Matter Halo
Galaxy Bias
Galaxy Filament
Galaxy Formation
Halo Abundance Matching (HAM)
Lambda-CDM model (ΛCDM)
Modified Newtonian Dynamics (MOND)
Rotation Curve