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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Dark matter blob confounds experts

• By Alan Boyle
 Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope are mystified by a merging galaxy cluster known as Abell 520 in which concentrations of visible matter and dark matter have apparently come unglued.

A report on the Hubble observations, published in the Astrophysical Journal, raises more questions than answers about a cosmic pile-up that's occurring 2.4 billion light-years away.

"We were not expecting this," the study team's senior theorist, Arif Babul of the University of Victoria, said in a news release. "According to our current theory, galaxies and dark matter are expected to stay together, even through a collision. But that's not what's happening in Abell 520. Here, the dark matter appears to have pooled to form the dark core, but most of the associated galaxies seem to have moved on."

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