An invisible ‘galactic bulge’ of dark matter is making nearby stars disappear, scientists say


An invisible ‘galactic bulge’ of dark matter with a mass of 10 million suns causes nearby stars to DISAPPEAR, scientists say

  • Star cluster V known as the Hiads is being ‘gravitationally ripped apart’
  • European Space Agency scientists say the culprit is a lump of dark matter
  • The cluster can be seen with the naked eye at the head of the constellation Taurus.

Scientists believe that the closest star cluster to the Sun is being ripped apart by a huge invisible mass.

Researchers say the area known as the Hyades, a V-shaped star cluster across the head of the constellation Taurus, is being gravitationally ripped apart.

The cluster is about 700 million years old and lies 153 light years from Earth about 60 light years across.

But the team says it used to have thousands more stars that have mysteriously disappeared.

The Hyades star cluster collided with an invisible object 10 million times larger than the Sun, scientists say

They believe the cluster encountered a huge invisible structure measuring roughly 10 million times the mass of the Sun hundreds of millions of years ago, which went to work to tear it apart.

One possible explanation is that it was a halo of dark matter, an invisible cloud of particles believed to be relics from the formation of the Milky Way.

The work was published in Astronomy & Astrophysics earlier this week.

Scientists led by researcher Tereza Jerabkova of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory made the discovery while examining the Hyades cluster using data collected by ESA’s Gaia satellite.

Tereza said: ‘There must have been a close interaction with this really massive group, and the Hyades were just crushed.

‘With Gaia, the way we see the Milky Way has completely changed. And with these discoveries, we will be able to map the substructures of the Milky Way much better than ever ”.

Star clusters naturally lose stars because they pull on each other gravitationally, which changes their speeds, moving some towards the edges of the cluster.

They can be swept away by the gravitational force of the galaxy, forming two long tails known as tidal tails.

Researchers say the area known as the Hyades, a V-shaped star cluster across the head of the constellation Taurus, is being gravitationally ripped apart.

Researchers say the area known as the Hyades, a V-shaped star cluster across the head of the constellation Taurus, is being gravitationally ripped apart.

Vice reported that Tereza said: “We see that the stars that belong to the closest star cluster are moving in a way that they should not move if we apply our known and widely used models.

“Either these models are wrong and this would have big implications for physics, or the motions change due to a bulge of dark matter, and this would also be an important discovery.

“This is the surprising thing about the data from the Gaia satellite: we have the opportunity, for the first time in history, to look for stellar structures that are hidden in the enormous number of field stars in the galaxy.”

But he ruled out that our Sun would have a similar encounter with an invisible monster black hole, adding that it is “basically impossible.”

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