Theories come and go. Today we awaken to find that the belief in “dark matter” is a thing of the past, no longer held in high regard by scientists and thinkers. The existence of invisible but existing “dark matter” was inferred by scientists as a result of observed gravitational effects coming from non-luminous sources. Background radiation combined with the gravitational effects made the existence of the dark matter a likely explanation. Now, new findings, of red dwarf stars, “More numerous than all the grains of sand on our deserts and beaches,” stars only half the size of our sun, explain the inconsistencies, and eliminate support for dark matter.
There are three types of galaxies predominant in the universe: the spiral galaxy, with arms circling about, such as our own, the elliptical galaxy, thought to be the product of a collision of spiral galaxies, and having a spheroidal, or flattened spheroidal shape, and lenticular galaxies that are a combination of these two; very old galaxies, with stars dead or dying, and having a very flat oval shape. [The photo to the right illustrates the elliptical galaxy.]
The red dwarf stars just discovered inhabit mostly elliptical galaxies, and are not found to a large extent in spiral galaxies, this being why the discovery is just now made. Incredibly the just-discovered red dwarves number about three septillion — a three followed by 24 zeros — and brings the number of total stars, suns if you like, in the universe to three times more than previously expected.
This new information comes from a team of astronomers headed by paper-author Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University. He says that we now know that a “typical star in the universe” is a red dwarf, in an elliptical galaxy. There are possibly, trillions of “Earths” orbiting these stars, van Dokkum says. We were unable to find them before owing to our inability to “see” much beyond our own galaxy. Van Dokkum used one of the world’s largest telescopes, at Yale, to study eight such elliptical galaxies.Van Dokkum’s study may have been instigated by a finding at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii that a particular pattern of light, linked to red dwarves, was found to be much stronger in the elliptical galaxies than expected.
Charlie Conroy co-authored the new report with van Dokkum. Conroy said that earlier scientists assumed that galaxies had similar content and were thought to be much like our own. That thinking turned out to be inaccurate. In his words, co-author Conroy says: “We usually assume other galaxies look like our own. But this [these new findings] suggests other conditions are possible in other galaxies… More stars also mean more planets – raising the odds that we are not alone in the universe.”