A dark galaxy in the virgo cluster imaged at 21-cm

R. F. Minchin, M. J. Disney, J. I. Davies, A. R. Marble, Christopher D Impey, P. J. Boyce, D. A. Garcia, M. Grossi, C. A. Jordan, R. H. Lang, S. Roberts, S. Sabatini, W. Van Driel

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Dark Matter supposedly dominates the extragalactic Universe (Peebles 1993; Peacock 1998; Moore et al. 1999; D’Onghi & Lake 2004), yet no dark structure of galactic proportions has ever been convincingly identified. Earlier (Minchin et al. 2005) we suggested that VIRGOHI 21, a 21-cm source we found in the Virgo Cluster at Jodrell Bank using single-dish observations (Davies et al. 2004), was probably such a dark galaxy because of its broad line-width (∼200 km s−1) unaccompanied by any visible gravitational source to account for it. We have now imaged VIRGOHI 21 in the neutral-hydrogen line, and have found what appears to be a dark, edge-on, spinning disc with the mass and diameter of a typical spiral galaxy. Moreover the disc has unquestionably interacted with NGC 4254, a luminous spiral with an odd one-armed morphology, but lacking the massive interactor normally linked with such a feature. Published numerical models (Vollmer et al. 2005) of NGC 4254 call for a close interaction ∼108 years ago with a perturber of ∼1011 solar masses. This we take as further, independent evidence for the massive nature of VIRGOHI 21.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysics and Space Science Proceedings
Issue number202409
StatePublished - 2007


  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: Intergalactic medium
  • Galaxies: Peculiar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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    Minchin, R. F., Disney, M. J., Davies, J. I., Marble, A. R., Impey, C. D., Boyce, P. J., Garcia, D. A., Grossi, M., Jordan, C. A., Lang, R. H., Roberts, S., Sabatini, S., & Van Driel, W. (2007). A dark galaxy in the virgo cluster imaged at 21-cm. Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings, (202409), 101-106. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5573-7_15