Pieter van Dokkum, Sol Goldman Family Professor of Astronomy and Physics, going the distance

Image: NASA, ESA, STScI, Zili Shen (Yale), Pieter van Dokkum (Yale), Shany Danieli (IAS). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
June 18, 2021

In Yale News (June 17, 2021), “Going the distance to confirm a galaxy with almost no dark matter”

Three years ago, a team of astronomers led by Yale’s Pieter van Dokkum surprised the scientific community with the discovery of a far-off galaxy that contained little or no dark matter.

The discovery, made using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, had the potential to upend well-established theories about how galaxies form and evolve. That is because dark matter — the invisible scaffolding that accounts for most of the universe’s mass — is considered essential for creating and shaping galaxies.

But how could a galaxy exist with almost no dark matter? Some astronomers speculated the finding was incorrect. Specifically, they questioned the accuracy of distance measurements from Earth to NGC 1052-DF2 — the galaxy with no dark matter.

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