Saturday, December 3, 2011

Astronomy Without A Telescope – Could Dark Matter Not Matter?

Astronomy Without A Telescope – Could Dark Matter Not Matter?  ...Carati has come along with a seemingly implausible idea that the rotational curves of spiral galaxies could be explained by the gravitational influence of faraway matter, without needing to appeal to dark matter at all.

Conceptually the idea makes little sense. Positioning gravitationally significant mass outside of the orbit of stars might draw them out into wider orbits, but it’s difficult to see why this would add to their orbital velocity. Drawing an object into a wider orbit should result in it taking longer to orbit the galaxy since it will have more circumference to cover. What we generally see in spiral galaxies is that the outer stars orbit the galaxy within much the same time period as more inward stars.

But although the proposed mechanism seems a little implausible, what is remarkable about Carati’s claim is that the math apparently deliver galactic rotation curves that closely fit the observed values of at least four known galaxies. Indeed, the math delivers an extraordinarily close fit.

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