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Available Expert - Astronomers baffled by galaxy that contains no dark matter

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Queen's University astronomer Nathalie Ouellette is available to comment on Galaxy NGC1052 – a galaxy that scientists have discovered contains no dark matter. Until now, dark matter has been thought to be essential in the formation of galaxies.

"The idea that our universe is filled with a mysterious substance called ‘dark matter’ which doesn't emit or absorb light has gained traction in astronomy since the mid-20th century,” says Dr. Ouellette. “Dark matter has been rolled into galaxy formation and evolution theories for decades now, but this discovery of a galaxy that seems dark-matter-free puts a damper on many of those theories.”

“This is like building a house without any mortar,” she says. “In other words, it shows that there could be many different ways to build a galaxy.”

Dr. Ouellette is a research associate at Queen's University in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Her doctoral dissertation surveyed the Virgo Cluster Galaxies, and her research focus consists of galaxies and space outside of our own solar system.

NOTE: Dr. Ouellette is available for interviews, except between 1 pm and 3 pm EST.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Dave Rideout (613-533-6000 ext. 79648, 613.453.5676, or dave.rideout@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613.533.2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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