Reasons to Believe

A Dark Galaxy: Finding the "Missing" Dark Stuff

The other 94 percent is dark.

Many independent sets of observations confirm that only about six percent of all the ordinary matter (neutrons and protons) in the universe is made up of stars and stellar remnants.1The other 94 percent is dark. While astronomers have verified that enormous quantities of ordinary dark matter exist as dispersed intergalactic gas, they have yet to positively identify a totally dark structure of galactic proportions.

The existence of ordinary dark matter structures on galactic, or at least dwarf galactic scales, is a crucial component of the biblically predicted big bang creation model,2 which appears to best fit the observations, namely the cold dark matter big bang model. Therefore, the discovery of a dark matter structure of galactic proportions would be a big boost for a biblically consistent cosmic creation model.

A team of thirteen astronomers from Chile, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States found such a dark galaxy in the Virgo cluster of galaxies.3 In a low-resolution map of the Virgo cluster at radio wavelengths they found a neutral hydrogen line (21-centimeter wavelength) emitter with a broad line width that was unaccompanied by any light-radiating source. The team re-imaged that part of their map using the high-resolution Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands. What they discovered was a dark, edge on, spinning disk manifesting the diameter and mass of a typical spiral galaxy. Furthermore, they noted that the luminous spiral galaxy, NGC 4254, is located very close to the dark rotating disk and possesses an “odd one-armed morphology” that can only be explained by a nearby massive perturber. The one possible candidate in the vicinity of NGC 4254 is the dark disk discovered by the team. Finally, the team confirmed that their discovered disk is indeed truly dark when they used the Hubble Space Telescope to search for possible faint stars associated with the disk’s 21-centimeter emission. They found none.

The team not only produced a convincing case for the existence of a “dark galaxy,” they also demonstrated that astronomers very likely have been overlooking the possible existence of dark galaxies elsewhere. They propose a targeted research program to search for and identify such galaxies. Such a program would enable astronomers to develop a much more detailed model for the creation and history of the universe and, consequently, more rigorous tests of the biblical cosmic creation model. We at Reasons To Believe are thrilled that doubts expressed by atheists and young-earth creationists about the dark matter component of the big bang creation model are being convincingly answered. We also predict that any forthcoming more-detailed models of the creation and history of the universe arising from future dark galaxy discoveries will prove to be a beautiful match with the Bible’s story of the universe’s beginning and development.

Subjects: Astronomy and the Bible, Biblical Evidence for an Old Earth , Big Bang, Galaxy Design, Origin of the Universe, Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth? , Scientific Evidence for an Old Earth, TCM - Cosmic Design, TCM - Origin of the Universe, Universe Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.

References:

  1. Masataka Fukugita and P. J. E. Peebles, “The Cosmic Energy Inventory,” Astrophysical Journal, 616 (December 1, 2004): 643-68.
  2. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001): 23-29.
  3. Robert Minchin et al., “21 cm Synthesis Observations of VIRGOHI 21—A Possible Dark Galaxy in the Virgo Cluster,” Astrophysical Journal 670 (December 1, 2007): 1056-64.