back to article Dark matter's such a pushover: Baby stars can shove weird stuff around dwarf galaxies

Dark matter may be even more elusive than previously thought, as researchers believe the mysterious material hidden at the heart of galaxies can be moved around with the power of heat. The process described as "dark matter heating" occurs in dwarf galaxies that are often found hovering around larger galaxies like the Milky Way …

  1. ma1010 Silver badge

    There is one thing that might explain dark matter

    Okay, everyone have the downvote button ready to go? Then begin!

    I know many people think it is a scam, and it may be, but I think Brilliant Light Power merits at least a look. I'm no physicist and don't have an opinion about whether Mills' theory is right or not. However, his equipment does produce plasmas, and people with reputations to guard, such as college professors and engineers, have done measurements that show excess heat (i.e., more energy coming out than going in) coming from the reactions Mills' company produces. It's true that they have not produced a WORKING, practical energy source. But neither have fusion pioneers, and we don't go around saying that fusion is crap because of that. Engineering this kind of stuff is hard. How do you contain and extract usable energy from plasma? Don't ask me.

    My point here is that Mills postulates that dark matter is actually a form of the hydrogen atom below ground state and that electron orbits can have fractional ground states. He states that the conditions for this to happen don't occur naturally on Earth, although they can in stars. His theory does explain why the sun's corona is hotter than the surface, a fact that's been known for a long time but is difficult to explain using well-understood laws of thermodynamics. It also would explain the observations in this article if, as Mills postulates, dark matter is really sub-ground-state hydrogen atoms (he calls them "hydrinos"). Of course clouds of hydrogen atoms in space are affected by thermal radiation.

    I'm also well aware that Mills doesn't believe in quantum mechanics, which I do, but I think the universe may just be more complex and tricky than we understand today. There may be room for hydrinos AND quantum mechanics. I know many physicists reject Mills' work because it doesn't agree with their preconceived notions. And Mills may be wrong, or even a charlatan, but I'd like to see more REAL physicists take a close, unbiased look at what he's doing and study his experiments. Either unmask the fraud and show how he does his tricks, or admit something interesting and possibly VERY beneficial to humankind is going on.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: There is one thing that might explain dark matter

      "Okay, everyone have the downvote button ready to go? Then begin!"

      I obliged. The guy threatens to sue his critics instead of demonstrating why he's right. Hallmark of a charlatan.

      It looks like his work is not compatible with the existence of magnets, which would also be an issue.

      1. Flakk

        His work is not compatible with the existence of magnets

        How do they work?

    2. vir

      Re: There is one thing that might explain dark matter

      "REAL physicists" have looked at his work and found it to be nonsensical and irreconcilable with observations. It's impossible to definitively prove him wrong, of course, as his theories are predicated on the refutation of established science. Rather like saying, "I'm actually 20 feet tall, you've all just been using the wrong ruler this whole time".

    3. Richard 12 Silver badge

      You've forgotten the rest of the Universe

      Any theory that hopes to explain the universe has to also be compatible every observation we've ever made.

      That one simply is not, and is therefore wrong.

      Being a little bit wrong is not necessarily bad (see Newton), but that one is a lot wrong as it contradicts a lot of observations, not just numerically but qualitatively, and including secondary school physics...

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: more energy coming out than going in

      Sorry, but I refuse to believe that. Either they measured wrong, or there were shenanigans going on.

      Cold fusion was the same thing : everyone was in awe, but nobody could replicate the experiment properly. It turned out to be a hoax.

      I will gladly change my mind when a working system is shown to exist and proven to work.

      Until that time, you got your downvote.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is one thing that might explain dark matter

      @ma1010: “I know many people think it is a scam, and it may be, but I think Brilliant Light Power merits at least a look.”

      ‘HydroCatalysis .. "represents a boundless form of new primary energy" ’ ref

      OK so produce a generator of electricity, plug it's output back into its input and lets see it run for ever.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: There is one thing that might explain dark matter

        plug [its] output back into its input and let[']s see it run for ever

        Maybe you have time to watch a perpetual-motion machine forever. I have things to do.

        I'd be happy seeing it run until it vaporizes itself.

        (What the hell is "primary" energy anyway? "Oh, no, I don't want that energy. It's clearly secondary.")

    6. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: There is one thing that might explain dark matter

      How do you contain and extract usable energy from plasma?

      Me? I do it by growing plants, and then burning or eating 'em.

  2. DCFusor Silver badge

    Alternate theory

    Dark matter is formed over time during the life of a galaxy or its star forming. Works just as well as a theory for the production of something that isn't even named correctly.

    It's dark gravity, people. Some idiot called it dark matter because they thought that'd make it easier to push the idea, since we know matter has mass and gravity. But then, since Einstein, we also know that energy does, and they are convertible anyway.

    All we actually know - the only believable observations are:

    1. angular velocity vs diameter of a spinning galaxy doesn't quite add up right.

    2. something gravitationally lenses light from very far away - space is more warped than we thought.

    That's it. "matter" might be what it is, under some very loose definition of "matter" that doesn't interact with anything but gravity - or so weakly that every single expensive test so far can't find whatever it is....maybe looking for the wrong thing?

    Just a guess by someone who really does do science and who has been wrong enough times to not buy anyone else's first guess, either. The amount of press the idea has gotten has nothing to do with its validity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kinda?

      I think you are in the right direction. However there are reasons that matter fits the observations better.

      Modified gravity does not add up and does not fit observation. So that is out of the window.

      However the distribution of observed dark matter (or the observation of deviation from the estimated rotation and mass to gravity predictions) fits an orbiting but non interactive (can pass through things unlike a pesky meteor hitting us!) particle very well.

      You may still be correct... as for a time geocentric theory matched observation... then we found out it was helio then relative. So perhaps it looks like matter now but with more observation will be something else. Or it is matter... better be a searcher than a stubborn idiot any day though! So always admit what we *don't know* but we can be hopeful we soon will! :)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Kinda?

        "perhaps it looks like matter now but with more observation will be something else"

        Observe how? "Observing" by observing something else and putting in some numbers to make it fit established physics isn't really observing at all. All that gives you is a hypothesis as to what might explain that observation. You need to be able to make that hypothesis falsifiable. A hypothesis that's predicated on something that only interacts by gravity to explain a gravitational effect on "ordinary" matter and is otherwise inherently undetectable seems to me inherently unfalsifiable.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inherently unfalsifiable.

          Define "observe". It seems we may have jumped the gun assuming only things we see with our eyes are observable.

          We can now detect gravity waves. So for example, if Dark matter does not exist, and is just an error in our rounding of calculations in gravity (not much chance, but falsifiable as we need!), we can now test that against known observations.

          Or if it is any other flavour of interaction or "thing" we can also test for that instead. :)

          So very much observable. It's just we don't yet know what we are looking for, we only see a hole where it should fit, or a shadow it is casting. We are currently running around the room checking each object in turn. XD

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Alternate theory

      "Some idiot called it dark matter"

      That idiot was Henri Poincaré, one of the best mathematicians in history. But not as clever as you, obviously.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Alternate theory

        Cant argue with his maths. But given he was naming something even he didnt know 'idiot' may well apply.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Alternate theory

          "But given he was naming something even he didnt know 'idiot' may well apply."

          Not really. He wasn't an idiot, that's the end of it. For a start, he was discussing work of Kelvin (another non-idiot who said one really stupid thing) when he coined the term. Second, just because you end up being wrong (and 100 years later physicists still tend to believe it, but nobody's really sure) doesn't make you an idiot.

          What makes you an idiot is the following: given the evidence available to you, did you make a really obvious error? Poincaré was not, therefore, an idiot. Either in general, or about this in particular.

          1. Pseudonymous Howard

            Re: Alternate theory

            Even though I also think that the naming of the phenomenon currently known as dark matter (TPCKADM) was kind of premature, I think calling Poincaré an idiot for that is too much.

            But on the other hand, since I never met him personally, I can't rule out that he, besides his genius, was also an idiot. Even the most brilliant genius can be at the same time a complete idiot - but usually the idiot shows up at the end of the scientific career, when many elder scientist deny any newer findings by younger scientist, no matter how good the math and how many experiments support the new theories. At least science is usually very fast, it takes usually not more than one generation of scientists to overcome old theories if better ones have been found. In politics, it takes centuries, in religion even millennia...

        2. cbars Silver badge

          Re: Alternate theory

          Tom 7, mate..... naming something makes you an idiot? Yea.... all those idiots that named the stars, the sun, moon, watched them go around and worked out how to navigate using them - multiple times in multiple cultures.... idiots, shouldn't have bothered. Just ignore it because you don't know what it is absolutely, what a way to move human endeavour onwards. Not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternate theory

      "Some idiot called it dark matter..."

      The problem with 'Dark matter' is that it's widely regarded, largely thanks to uninformed (and thus misleading) reporting in the general media, to be the explanation of anomalies in observations. The problem with this, as far as explanations go, is that because we can't say what 'Dark matter' is, it doesn't actually explain anything.

      'Dark matter' is really just a description of the observed anomalies, insofar as the observed anomalies appear to indicate the presence of matter that cannot be seen. However, this is not the same as saying that there is matter there that cannot be seen.

      There'd probably be less confusion, in the wider public at least, if the idiot had called it the 'Dark matter problem' instead.

      It's not a solution or explanation - it's just a very naughty description.

      Same applies to 'Dark energy' too.

      1. Alan Johnson

        Re: Alternate theory

        Yes I hate the terms dark matter and dark energy because they are explanations for apparent conflicts between observations and current physical theories. At the bottom they are anomolies in the dynamics of very large objects dark matter is simply an incomplete hypothesis as to the origin of one of the anomalies.

        I find the idea that there is a something which is simultaneously cold and collisionless and can be kinetically 'heated up' and moved around". seems to be stretching plausibility quite apart from the absence of any direct observations of any dark matter. Maybe you can tune a model so it is sufficently weakly interacting to be cold and collisionless but still interacts enough to allow it to heat up and be moved around but it seems awkward and implausible to me but I am not at all qualified to comment. If I was in the field I would be seeking some model which explained both phenomena as it seems quiet a coincidence to have two different types of anomaly in the dynamics large scale objects.

        However calling these things dark matter and dark energy is misleading. Something is missing or wrong in our physics but we have no assurance that it is dark energy or dark matter.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternate theory

      "That's it. "matter" might be what it is, under some very loose definition of "matter" that doesn't interact with anything but gravity - or so weakly that every single expensive test so far can't find whatever it is....maybe looking for the wrong thing?"

      Or a black hole. Assuming the F resonance hypothesis, there is no mass, the only force is electric, and everything is oscillating. There certainly is no "bendy space". (see comment I put here):

      A blackhole would be a 2F universe in that model, and likely we'd be in one.

      1. As matter gets more compressed till its 8 times more energy dense, it will want to oscillate at 2F.

      2. Half the wavelength in 3 directions, hence 8x the density

      3. The event horizon is the point at which light/matter stops travelling over the 1F oscillation and starts travelling over the 2F oscillation.

      4. A 2F resonance interacts strongly with a 2F resonance, and weakly with a 1F resonance.

      5. Its fairly easy to understand. Think of two oscillating dipoles next to each other, M at 1F, N at 1F, half a wave out of phase. When M is +ve up, N is -ve up and attracts. When M is -ve up, N is also -ve up and attracts.

      6. Now consider M at 1F and N at 2F. M +ve up, sees *both* N +ve up and N -ve up, since the oscillation of N is twice as fast. M both attracts and repels N. It jiggles, but it does not move.

      7. Note that oscillation neither adds nor removes energy from that system of MN, it only moves energy to and fro.

      So blackholes would be decoupled from the Universe they are in.

      8. In practise only a perfect 2F oscillation does this, a spinning blackhole has some component that interacts. But that model is beyond a comment on elReg.

      Gravitational lensing in that model is the same as diffraction in a slit.

      Matter has an X oscillation component at F. Light has an F oscillation component, with some component of the oscillation in X. See 5, it attracts. The same mechanism happens when passing a planet or passing the walls of a slit. It bends.

      9. The outer blackhole spins up, which corresponds to velocity inside. Faster spin = faster velocity inside.

      10. (speculative) The black hole oscillates. It goes from compression to expansion, compression, expansion.

      11. Inside more blackholes, each 2F relative to the outer one. 2F, 4F, 8F.... Each half the wavelength, and time goes twice as fast. Each appears like a normal universe, everything behaves as expected, they would not know they were in a different resonant harmonic of F.

      12. A black hole universe in compression, sees matter appear at the outer boundary, slowing down (actually oscillating up to 2F, velocity is spin over resonance in this model, and so the further you are from the resonance point, the faster your velocity). Star stuff heading towards the center of the black hole universe.

      13. A black hole universe in expansion, sees matter heading outward from the center, accelerating, as its oscillation tries to accommodate the outer 1F oscillation. A larger phase difference from 2F, corresponds again to a higher velocity. At the universe event horizon, stuff will disappear out over the horizon.

      14. (speculative) The spin of a black hole relative to its accretion disc will be a measure of the phase of its expanding or compressing. Half of those black holes at the center of galaxies will be spitting out matter as they spin.

      So IMHO, the universe is quite a bit different from the models they have.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternate theory

        Not a clue on this until I work through it. However, my suspicion is that Dark Energy and Dark Matter are a manifestation from Black Holes. Especially Dark Energy.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Paul Smith

        Re: Alternate theory

        AC - Now that is an interesting theory, but I suspect it still has a few kinks in it.

        The assertion "27. Which makes Gamma rays, 1x10^20hz ~ 99.99% W per Spin, and light at 10^15hz is ~99.9999999% W per spin. Gamma rays should be slower in a vacuum than light." has an implication that radio waves should travel faster then light, something which has never been observed.

      3. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Alternate theory

        I knew there'd be an electric universe crank in the comments.

    5. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Alternate theory

      "All we actually know - the only believable observations are:

      1. angular velocity vs diameter of a spinning galaxy doesn't quite add up right.

      2. something gravitationally lenses light from very far away - space is more warped than we thought.

      That's it."

      And yet even a cursory glance at Wikipedia would show at least 11 separate, independent lines of evidence all supporting it. Calling actual scientists idiots while demonstrating less understanding than that of an uneducated layman with a few spare minutes on their hands is probably not the best way to convince everyone you're worth paying attention to.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Sums over matter do matter

      "Erm, no. 27 percent dark plus less than 27 percent baryonic leaves more than 46 percent unaccounted for. I believe that dark matter accounts for nearer 72% than 27%, possibly even more than that."

      Erm, yes. Dark matter: 27%. Ordinary matter: 5%. Other: 68%. (Postulated to be dark energy.)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sums over matter do matter

        "Dark matter: 27%. Ordinary matter: 5%. Other: 68%. (Postulated to be dark energy.)"

        As an onlooker who once worked in other branches of science this simply provokes feelings of deep unease. ASAICS the term "dark" means that we can't detect dark matter and energy by any other means that the sort of observations on which their hypothetical existence is based. We can't sample it to weigh it, measure its charge or whatever. This seems to me deeply anti-scientific.

        1. Not also known as SC

          Re: Sums over matter do matter

          That's the way it works. Also dark matter doesn't mean just one type of 'dark matter', it could be lots of different types of dark matter none of which we can detect directly. The models used to explain our understanding of the Universe however require dark matter and dark energy. That is why there is so much effort to prove dark matter exists because then we know that the models are accurate (or at least on the right lines). Astrophysics is a strange science in that it is all based upon observation unlike most sciences, which as you state, require you to physically interact with things, repeat measurements etc. In fact from that point of view astrophysics actually fails the definition of being a science - it is more observational mathematics.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: This seems to me deeply anti-scientific

          You might wish for a little refresher course on the Scientific Method here.

          It's a little excerpt from talks from one of the greatest scientific minds to have graced our little planet : Richard Feynman.

        3. tfb Silver badge

          Re: Sums over matter do matter

          You realise that people are busily looking for ways to observe dark matter, right?

  4. Rol Silver badge

    Mexican Wall of Shame

    I gave up my day job and now earn $5,000 a week for just a couple of hours typing. I got my friend to do the same and now he earns more than me.

    Yes I know, you're all sat there dismissing this as another scam, but you just read through this article about dark matter without flinching once, so I guess you're interested.

    I can supply you with a post doctorate degree in astrophysics from the University of Rick's Fast Food and News Outlet and you too can then get funding to make questionable announcements on dark matter to the day you die. Don't forget, until some funding goes the way of antimatter or something commonsensical like, this careering wild goose chase will rumble on and on and on, with everyone involved preciously defending this absurdity until the funding dries up.

    At the moment I'm currently negotiating with Donald to sort out the impasse, with my New Year sale on impassible dark matter Mexican walls. What's a small typo between friends, eh?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Mexican Wall of Shame

      I get the impression that you've never written a grant application in your life.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mexican Wall of Shame

        I get the impression you missed the irony.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Mexican Wall of Shame

      "impassible dark matter Mexican walls."

      So good I shut down my government for one.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Mexican Wall of Shame

        Q/ Which is more secure, wall or fence?

        A/ fence.

        1 Because you can see the baddies approaching.

        2 If they get too close you can shoot them right through the fence.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mexican Wall of Shame

      I am unsure whether this is supposed to be a spoof of the article (and thus downvotable) or of the first post and thus upvotable). As T S Eliot remarked, you can't write a good parody unless you are a better writer than the person you are parodying. (Makes sense when you think about it.)

      The problem here is that over the New Year (and with a bad cold) I discovered the Quora website, where people ask questions about physics and people answer them with "I'm totally unqualified to write about physics but this is my explanation."

      This is an extract from one of them:

      "The first major realization is that Energy and Force are actually the same thing. Force is really nothing more than an Energy Field. It is now understood that the Energy expresses itself as a field whether or not another particle is interacting with that field. In other words, Space is bent whether or not a particle is passing through it."

      The same guy is of the view that mass doesn't exist, which is great news for him if he's standing right under an Acme safe falling from the tenth floor.

      tl;dr: No matter how good a parody you intend there are people out there who will hold similar views to the ones you just expressed, and will not be backward in coming forward with them.

      I'm onboard with a Manhattan Project that will create an AI to do Dunning-Kurger filtering of the Internet.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Mexican Wall of Shame


        Do you believe that your spelling is above average...;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mexican Wall of Shame

          "Do you believe that your spelling is above average...;-)"

          Did you read the "with a bad cold"?

          Unfortunately I can't send real viruses over the Internet so you can experience the IQ-lowering effects for yourself.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No doctor, that is dark matter fat

    It seems to imply dark matter accumulation is an inverse ratio of galaxy metabolism.

    Just like as I age, my waist keeps increasing despite not eating any differently.

    Need to exercise, and/or make more baby stars to keep off the dark matter weight.

  6. hellwig

    I'm correcting my correction....

    The universe is too heavy, must be DARK MATTER!!! But wait, it's expanding way too fast to be that heavy, it must be DARK ENERGY!!!!

    Everyone is just busy trying to prove or disprove the cosmological constant Einstein proposed. Maybe ignoring his flawed equation and re-examining facts is required here?

    Remember when we thought Newtonian physics could explain all aspects of the known world? Seems to me we might not have reached the pinnacle and we look a little silly just throwing out all these ideas.

    Basically, Dark Matter and Dark Energy were created to "explain" some unexpected observation, and now the community just thinks we need to define what those Dark things are. Well, maybe we took a step too far, and we still need to understand the observations before naming the culprit. You look awfully foolish arresting Grandma's killer when it turns out she just had a heart attack.

    1. Phil Lord

      Re: I'm correcting my correction....

      Yes. Of course. It could all be nonsense. Dark matter could go the way of the luminiforous either or phlogiston. And maybe fiddling with, for example, gravitational attraction equations would solve the problem. And, there are physicists doing that also. And both groups are working hard to develop their theories to the point where they are accurate and descriptive enough that they can be tested.

      When the authors say "dark matter does this" and "dark matter behaves like that", they are, I am sure, aware that it might not exist. But, to speak that way all the time produces bad prose. Consider: "gravity attracts objects based on their mass and the square of their distance appart, or more or less although perhaps it's not exactly the square of the distance." It doesn't really work.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I'm correcting my correction....

        luminiforous either or phlogiston

        I rather like the idea of luminiferous either/or phlogiston, a non-existent medium for the transmission of light or heat, but not both at the same time. TDMA for electromagnetic and thermal energy. A light-controlled heat valve. An equilibrium lamp.

  7. DJV Silver badge

    "can be moved around with the power of heat"

    Well, that accounts for the pizza that I thought was cooking in my oven still being in the freezer when the timer pinged!

  8. mpc755

    What is referred to as the dark matter being 'pushed out' is the dark matter being displaced by the ordinary matter.

    Dark matter is a supersolid that fills 'empty' space, strongly interacts with ordinary matter and is displaced by ordinary matter. What is referred to geometrically as curved spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the supersolid dark matter. The state of displacement of the supersolid dark matter is gravity.

    The supersolid dark matter displaced by a galaxy pushes back, causing the stars in the outer arms of the galaxy to orbit the galactic center at the rate in which they do.

    Displaced supersolid dark matter is curved spacetime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If it filled empty space you'd expect to see tons of it in the empty space between galaxies. Instead it seems like it mostly surrounds galaxies like a halo but doesn't fill those empty spaces.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .. and the faster we go, the rounder we get!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dark matter doesn't interact with light, but

    it interacts with heat?

    "Heat" is either in the form of infrared energy, i.e. light (which dark matter can't interact with) or it is in the form of particles moving faster in that area. If fast moving particles (mostly hydrogen atoms) can push dark matter away moreso than they can push regular matter away, dark matter particles must have less mass than hydrogen atoms.

    But how do they "push" dark matter particles? The reason regular matter particles can push each other is because of their charge. Does this imply dark matter particles also have a charge? If so, how is it that they don't interact with light?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Dark matter doesn't interact with light, but

      It's just talking about the dark matter speeding up as it weaves around space.

      Think about how a spaceship can pick up speed by slingshotting round a planet. The idea is similar things happens to dark matter in the turbulent space around star formation. That increase in speed is an increase in kinetic energy -- i.e. the dark matter's temperature increases or it "heats up". (The abstract even puts "heats up" in scare quotes.)

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Dark matter doesn't interact with light, but

      Heat is... hard to define (the 19th century version of dark matter if you like). It's a statistical property of a distribution of energy in different levels, so it applies whether those levels are the energy of photons (cosmic microwave background up to ultraviolet and beyond) or particles with mass (generally we think of nuclei in solids, the electrons are frozen out). But you're right, there has to be an interaction to allow energy to transfer between the different systems to allow heat exchange and the heat from stars doesn't seem like it would couple well with gravity in a way that would drive dark matter around. Will have to read the paper

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tail wagging the dog?

    I don't disagree that the scientists and researchers know what they are doing. I also think they have done a fantastic job here andmany more elsewhere (astronomy/cosmology and particle/quantum physics are fascinating).

    But I don't see how this is not an etheir / or observation? Etheir it is hot stars heating dark matter or it is older dark matter cooling. How do yhey know which? The biggest errors in science are jumping ahead of the observations.

    The true greats wait. Even Einstein waited for the observations. He hoped to find them but depended on them... well until QMstarted to make his head spin. :p

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Tail wagging the dog?

      Isn't that's a bit like saying "it's not that this bonfire has heated up the air, it's that everywhere else has cooled down"? Or looking inside a fridge and saying, "it's not that the interior of this fridge is cold, it's that everywhere else has warmed up"?

      They've extrapolated data to a point where they can compare it with a model that "heats" the initial dark matter in a galaxy, and it fits. Whereas a cooling model would, presumably, produce a different result.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tail wagging the dog?

        No, it is not. Because we know a bonfire makes things hot. We do not know what "Darkmatter" is, or what produces it.

        It would be like sitting in the house saying "it's bright in here because the bonfire is out there". (See lots and lots of flat earth arguments for where you can fail to join the dots correctly)

        Fitting data to a model is not science as much as getting the predictive ability out of it. Here, they did not have the data set or ability to make such a predictive fitting model (again, see lots of QM/string/ and other theories that can be "made" to fit data, but does not mean they are correct).

        Observing that heat does move dark matter would take a lot more observations. See the LHC and Higgs (and other) particle discoveries, or other astronomical observational discoveries for where observation moves over to theory. :)

  11. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    The only place Dark Matter exists is in Uranus

    1. AlgernonFlowers4

      Matter of fact, it's all dark!

      By the way, which one's Pink?

  12. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    This paper draws a lot of inferences. But there's just one factual discovery: galaxies that stopped star forming 6 billion years ago have more dark matter at 150 parsecs from the centre than those where star formation is ongoing today. This conclusion is based on examining 8 dwarf irregular and 8 dwarf spherical galaxies, and then throwing in some maths (but I don't think there's any obvious reason to doubt it for the 16 galaxies they examined).

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Dark matter isn't real?

    The evidence for dark matter being that, at the edge, galaxies rotate faster than can be accounted by standard gravity. This effect accounts for the spiral spoke-like shapes and the formation of stars. In an expanding universe matter would tend to clump more than can be accounted for by standard gravity. Dark matter may end up being the phlogiston of the twenty first century.

  14. Milton

    One undisputable property of "dark matter" ...

    One undisputable property of "dark matter" ... is that it is slippery. Yes, tongue is in cheek, a bit, but you can't deny that ever since galactic rotation curves set a red flag waving, giving rise to the dark matter conjecture, it has been a very slippery customer. I'd submit that it's still not much better than a conjecture, given the complete lack of direct observation and the consequent speculation as to what, if anything, might constitute dark matter. Axions? Another flavour of neutrino? An additional generation of particles still missing from the Standard Model? While variations on MOND are successively succumbing to observation, none of those failures goes an inch further in explaining what dark matter actually is.

    Dark matter is the least bad explanation out there, but only because we think we know that gravity obeys strict laws (and the best evidence so far says it does); that the presence of mass is what gives rise to gravity (again, so far so good), and therefore that where we see otherwise unexplained gravitational effects there must be mass we cannot see. So of course it's dark mass, or matter. But it's worth remembering that mass is a property many particles don't even have; that we don't know the fundamental reasons underpinning how and why bosons interact (we can only say that they appear to follow mathematical rules requiring multiple extra dimensions to be calculable); that the vacuum catastrophe is just one among several phenomena telling us that we still don't understand some very fundamental things (along with various constants; the absence, so far, of proton decay, etc etc); that, in short, we're a long way from being able to say "This is the only possible explanation".

    While I agree that this provides fertile ground for the god-of-the-gaps cranks and luminiferous ignoramuses (some of whom appear have manifested themselves here today) the real lesson is surely that we should be very cautious when venturing into cosmological alleys lest they become (a) accepted wisdom, and then (b) blind.

    FWIW I suspect we won't have real understanding of fundamental physics until we can properly explain black holes. For me they are the 4MꙨ gorilla in the room: enigmatic, dangerous, brutally difficult to comprehend ... yet holding all the answers.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: One undisputable property of "dark matter" ...

      Mostly agreed. What dark matter has going for it so far is we know there are particles that barely interact with normal matter, but have mass (neutrinos), so one that doesn't interact except through gravity is not a massive stretch (except the standard model doesn't have a place for it), while attempts to mess with the theory of gravity to produce the effect get weird fast (admittedly, choose which theory you want to mess with, I'd forgotten the standard model doesn't admit neutrino mass without modification). Sometimes I do wonder if relying overly on symmetries to build theories we're doing the equivalent of Kepler and the Mysterium Cosmographicum (the planets' orbital distance predicted by enclosing Platonic solids), but it's not the area I ended up working in, so ho hum.

    2. Palpy Silver badge

      Re: Slippery dark matter and mass...

      Mostly agree with the OP as well. However, a niggle (which the OP and many others know perfectly well): Matter creates gravitational fields (or bends spacetime), but so does energy. And so do fields, including gravitational fields.

      (In English: put enough gravitating stuff in one spot, and the gravitational field gets so strong that it creates more gravity, which creates a yet stronger gravitational field, which... ad nauseum -- Dude, my spacetime just collapsed!) (Or, spacetime curvature creates stronger spacetime curvature, etc. Mathematicaly, the field versus curvature approaches give the same results.)

      And by writing "in English", I am speaking the wrong language. The language of physics is math. We can write "Mass/energy bends spacetime" but what we really mean is Einstein's Field Equation. Which, when expanded, is "...a system of ten coupled, nonlinear, hyperbolic-elliptic partial differential equations."

      I think that speculating in English about gravitation and dark matter is great fun, but unless you can mathematically solve Einstein's interlocking system of partial differential equations, you can whistle all you want but that dog won't hunt. (Or unless you can create a better mathematical description of relativistic spacetime and gravity than Einstein's, I suppose.)

      But yes. It is fun to talk.

    3. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: One undisputable property of "dark matter" ...

      @Milton's "4MꙨ Gorilla"

      Thank you for using one of my favourite glyphs, the "Monocular O" from biblical Cyrillic. In my opinion it's only bettered by the "double monocular O", or Ꙭ, and that wins purely because it looks like boobies.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about the Bulgarian airbag angle!!!???

    Great article, Once Katyanna has taken care of that entirely understandable oversight, I want to bring up the Caloric Theory of heat, Phlogiston and the Ether.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about the Bulgarian airbag angle!!!???

      You have still got a few months to go before Nanny May tries to distract her elderly right wing supporters from the disastrous mess they've made of everything else by trying to stop people viewing Bulgarian airbags on line.

  16. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    hand-wavy "theory": dimension crunching

    I don't know if this has any basis in fact (maybe with superconductors?), but one way that might explain differences between our models of the Universe and observations might be some sort of local dimension lowering in certain systems. Absent singularities, we assume that the stuff of the Universe is smoothly differentiable and works in a field with a fixed, integer dimension number. But what if, when the curvature gradient of the mathematical space exceeds a critical threshold, the smoothness of that part of space breaks down and is replaced by a lower-dimensional lattice plus some effects that can be measured relative to that lattice's natural coordinate system? This would have to happen near a singularity, so perhaps it could be a basis for explaining how cosmic censorship works (nature abhorring naked singularities).

    I'm not sure if, mathematically speaking, you can have regular lattices (or non-regular ones like Penrose tilings) embedded in fractal dimensions, but if so, this might offer an alternative place to look for models beyond those that break down by reducing the number of dimensions by an integer. Or perhaps there's an orderly transition process by which the number of dimensions is reduced by a whole number through an intermediate set of fractal-space tilings. Or maybe there's no need for fractal dimensions. If the singularity itself has characteristics of an aperiodic tiling, the breakdown of the "tiling space" of dimension n-1 could be a factor of the existing physical factors that are observable from outside and the size of the tiling space. So this exotic "ice-9" kind of space wouldn't be able to crystallise/convert normal space beyond a critical threshold.

    I think that dimension reduction/crunching does seem to take place near black holes, since we appear to go from a 4d field to a system with fewer dimensions (eg, the "surface" of a black hole seems have one less dimension), but the problem which this explanation for more mundane systems is that we don't see singularities everywhere. So unless a kind of spontaneous "crystallisation" of pockets of space happens more commonly than we thing, then it's probably not a good explanation of dark energy/matter. However, maybe this is just an artefact of how we think about coordinate systems and instead of renormalisation in quantum field theory, we should maybe be treating infinities there as geometric objects, such as aperiodic tilings in one dimension lower than the main system, that can interact and evolve with each other in ways that provide an alternative mathematical understanding of the observed facts.

    I know that this sounds quite crazy, but at least as an analogy, the idea of crystalline/lattice states isn't too far-fetched, and at least I can propose a concrete mechanism (some gradient metric exceeding a critical threshold) for normal states to spontaneously convert into the exotic state.

  17. PeterW

    Ma1010 re Mills / Brilliant Light Power:

    Most scientists will be too busy to spend time looking at this stuff. So they will not be in a position to evaluate it. They might perhaps look at Wikipedia, and they will find dismissive comments: the relevant pages are under very tight control by hostile elements. Published papers are not much help: these days papers are not studied, but just counted. The glorious days when one might read important and useful papers in the Bell System Technical Journal are over. (Rice for random noise, Nyqvist for feedback system stability, and more recently the issue about Unix and C.)

    So we shall just have to wait for a major, and very convincing, public demonstration. If that ever happens, I forecast that the Scientific American will hold out longer than other journals, as it did for the Wright Brothers.

    Peter W.

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