The corrugated galaxy: Milky Way may be much larger than previously estimated

March 11, 2015
The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The Milky Way galaxy is at least 50 percent larger than is commonly estimated, according to new findings that reveal that the galactic disk is contoured into several concentric ripples. The research, conducted by an international team led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor Heidi Jo Newberg, revisits astronomical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey which, in 2002, established the presence of a bulging ring of stars beyond the known plane of the Milky Way.

"In essence, what we found is that the of the Milky Way isn't just a disk of in a flat planeā€”it's corrugated," said Heidi Newberg, professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy in the Rensselaer School of Science. "As it radiates outward from the sun, we see at least four ripples in the disk of the Milky Way. While we can only look at part of the galaxy with this data, we assume that this pattern is going to be found throughout the disk."

Importantly, the findings show that the features previously identified as rings are actually part of the , extending the known width of the Milky Way from 100,000 light years across to 150,000 light years, said Yan Xu, a scientist at the National Astronomical Observatories of China (which is part of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing), former visiting scientist at Rensselaer, and lead author of the paper.

"Going into the research, astronomers had observed that the number of Milky Way stars diminishes rapidly about 50,000 light years from the center of the galaxy, and then a ring of stars appears at about 60,000 from the center," said Xu. "What we see now is that this apparent ring is actually a ripple in the disk. And it may well be that there are more ripples further out which we have not yet seen."

The density of light detected in the Milky Way reveals a rippling contour. Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The research, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and titled "Rings and Radial Waves in the Disk of the Milky Way," was published today in the Astrophysical Journal. Newberg, Xu, and their collaborators used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to show an oscillating asymmetry in the main sequence star counts on either side of the galactic plane, starting from the sun and looking outward from the galactic center. In other words, when we look outward from the sun, the mid-plane of the disk is perturbed up, then down, then up, and then down again.

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Watch a 50-minute video explaining the findings in detail

"Extending our knowledge of our galaxy's structure is fundamentally important," said Glen Langston, NSF program manager. "The NSF is proud to support their effort to map the shape of our galaxy beyond previously unknown limits."

The new research builds upon a 2002 finding in which Newberg established the existence of the "Monoceros Ring," an "over-density" of stars at the outer edges of the galaxy that bulges above the galactic plane. At the time, Newberg noticed evidence of another over-density of stars, between the Monoceros Ring and the sun, but was unable to investigate further. With more data available from the SDSS, researchers recently returned to the mystery.

An unlabeled view of the corrugated Milky Way Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

"I wanted to figure out what that other over-density was," Newberg said. "These stars had previously been considered disk stars, but the stars don't match the density distribution you would expect for disk stars, so I thought 'well, maybe this could be another ring, or a highly disrupted dwarf galaxy."

When they revisited the data, they found four anomalies: one north of the at 2 kilo-parsecs (kpc) from the sun, one south of the plane at 4-6 kpc, a third to the north at 8-10 kpc, and evidence of a fourth to the south 12-16 kpc from the sun. The Monoceros Ring is associated with the third ripple. The researchers further found that the oscillations appear to line up with the locations of the galaxy's spiral arms. Newberg said the findings support other recent research, including a theoretical finding that a dwarf galaxy or dark matter lump passing through the Milky Way would produce a similar rippling effect. In fact, the ripples might ultimately be used to measure the lumpiness of dark matter in our galaxy.

"It's very similar to what would happen if you throw a pebble into still water - the waves will radiate out from the point of impact," said Newberg. "If a goes through the disk, it would gravitationally pull the disk up as it comes in, and pull the disk down as it goes through, and this will set up a wave pattern that propagates outward. If you view this in the context of other research that's emerged in the past two to three years, you start to see a picture is forming."

Explore further: Not all who wander are lost

More information: arxiv.org/abs/1503.00257

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54 comments

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altizar
4.5 / 5 (11) Mar 11, 2015
wow, I actually thought we were a little bit further out from the center. . .
LariAnn
3.8 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2015
Somehow, I never assumed the Milky Way was a flat disk - seemed reasonable that it was "textured" in some manner and this research bears that out. Too bad we can't send out a probe perpendicular to the plane of our galaxy and go far enough out to view it at an angle that would allow visualization of the "ripples".
jediknight190501
1.2 / 5 (21) Mar 11, 2015
Well now. I wonder what we'll discover next . . . This is a perfect example of why it is usually foolish to draw conclusions from any data, as that data is always subject to change.
Uncle Ira
4.4 / 5 (23) Mar 11, 2015
Well now. I wonder what we'll discover next . . . This is a perfect example of why it is usually foolish to draw conclusions from any data, as that data is always subject to change.


Well now, your self there Skippy. This is a perfect example of why we aren't still waiting for a lightening bolt to start a brush fire so we can cook dinner.
Doug_Huffman
4.5 / 5 (8) Mar 11, 2015
Too bad we can't send out a probe perpendicular to the plane of our galaxy and go far enough out to view it at an angle that would allow visualization of the "ripples".
Can't? But we can, though not in realistic time. The galaxy is about 1000 ly 'thick'.
rowan_williums
4.8 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2015
Cool! I always wanted to live in a major galaxy rather than some rural space backwater.
Dethe
1 / 5 (5) Mar 11, 2015
It's another indicia, that the Milky Way experienced galactic merger in distant past. The speed and inconsistent composition of stars around Sun and the oscillating path of solar system along galactic plane indicates, that the Sun originated from foreign galaxy. The ripples around galaxy should be correlated with relative motion of Milky Way - maybe it's AdS/CFT dual analogy of so-called pilot wave of quantum mechanics.
baudrunner
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 11, 2015
Other reasons might exist for the ripples, other than a dwarf galaxy or dark matter lump passing through it. Some galaxies are globular, others are elliptical, still others are just plain asymmetrical. The Milky Way is a symmetrical barred spiral galaxy and this lends some doubt as to the origins of this phenomenon. This points to the nature of star formation, motion of the whole, and its spin around the galactic center. The ripple effect is analogous to a loosely coiled hose, with the concentration of stars in the arms leading to this observation. Dwarf galaxies and DM lumps (?) passing through it would result in a far more chaotic and vastly different shape, IMO.
skywalker74vette
2.7 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2015
So this makes me think the black hole at the center of the galaxy is slowly vibrating and moving in a "verticle" motion as well as spinning. Wonder if there is any way to test that
justmejustme
2.3 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2015
This is not the first "discovery" where it is finaly start to realise that in 3 dimensional space there is a 3th dimension not just 2d flat stuff. . . . . .
user0one
4 / 5 (3) Mar 11, 2015
If our galaxy is 100K, to 150K light years in diameter, I wonder how many light years thick is it.
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (9) Mar 11, 2015
This is not the first "discovery" where it is finaly start to realise that in 3 dimensional space there is a 3th dimension not just 2d flat stuff. . . . . .

A "3th" dimension?!?
tubacka
3.9 / 5 (8) Mar 11, 2015
WOW! All of this in only 6,000 years!
Caliban
3.5 / 5 (8) Mar 11, 2015

This bit, quoted FTA:

"It's very similar to what would happen if you throw a pebble into still water - the waves will radiate out from the point of impact," said Newberg. "If a dwarf galaxy goes through the disk, it would gravitationally pull the disk up as it comes in, and pull the disk down as it goes through, and this will set up a wave pattern that propagates outward.


I find it kinda sad, but amusing at the same time, that they always seem to assume a "bullseye" collision, when, as everyone in the whole world knows, the odds against are --literally-- astronomical.

Further --to rely upon this unlikeliest of causatives to explain this "rippled disc" is pure folly.

Like most of you, I've always visualized the spiral arms as being big, winding pipes of stars'n'dust, with matter density greatest towards their horizontal axes --which are, in effect-- the centers of mass/gravity with respect to the spiral arm.

ctd
Nik_2213
2.2 / 5 (6) Mar 11, 2015
Uh, am I mistaken in thinking those steep 'ripples' mean there's a lot more mass out there than if our galaxy was as flat as earlier models suggested ??

If the mass distribution changes, this will surely impinge on notions such as MOND and, possibly, reduce the need for 'Dark Matter'...
Caliban
3.9 / 5 (8) Mar 12, 2015
ctd

I'm quite shocked at my long term misunderstanding, but even more shocked that anyone ever conceived of the galactic disk as being of roughly homogenous thickness, like some kind of platter.

And, again, relying upon some supposed bullseye collision to impart the so-called oscillation of the arms above and below the plane of the galaxy also seems like quite a stretch to me --if pressed, I would guess that this observation would prolly be better explained as being relict evidence of the milky way's gravitational collapse from a more-or-less spherical mass of gas'n'dust to it's current accretion disk/spiral outgrown from that gravitational collapse. There is no reason to believe that the process would have been completely uniform, and it seems natural enough --at least to me-- that some of the arms would wind in from above- and some from below- the galactic plane.
bryan_delahoz_77
5 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2015
This dscovery was is made by PAndAS, are we going to trust our cosmology wisdom to a bunch of black and white bears? #TheJokeThatNeededToBeDone, hahahahahaha, jokes aside, pretty fascinating discovery :3
mooster75
2.3 / 5 (10) Mar 12, 2015

This bit, quoted FTA:

"It's very similar to what would happen if you throw a pebble into still water - the waves will radiate out from the point of impact," said Newberg. "If a dwarf galaxy goes through the disk, it would gravitationally pull the disk up as it comes in, and pull the disk down as it goes through, and this will set up a wave pattern that propagates outward.


I find it kinda sad, but amusing at the same time, that they always seem to assume a "bullseye" collision, when, as everyone in the whole world knows, the odds against are --literally-- astronomical.

I think most science articles should probably end after "this is what we found" and just eliminate "this is what we think it means".
Shootist
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2015
Somehow, I never assumed the Milky Way was a flat disk - seemed reasonable that it was "textured" in some manner and this research bears that out. Too bad we can't send out a probe perpendicular to the plane of our galaxy and go far enough out to view it at an angle that would allow visualization of the "ripples".


We can, sort of. Send an observatory to 500 AU. Use Sol as a gravitational lens. Many things will be revealed.
jsdarkdestruction
4.7 / 5 (15) Mar 12, 2015
Well now. I wonder what we'll discover next . . . This is a perfect example of why it is usually foolish to draw conclusions from any data, as that data is always subject to change.

If we dont draw conclusions from data like you say, never.
In fact we'd have never discovered anything. How is science supposed to work to you?
Whydening Gyre
3.2 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2015
And, again, relying upon some supposed bullseye collision to impart the so-called oscillation of the arms above and below the plane of the galaxy also seems like quite a stretch to me --if pressed, I would guess that this observation would prolly be better explained as being relict evidence of the milky way's gravitational collapse from a more-or-less spherical mass of gas'n'dust to it's current accretion disk/spiral outgrown from that gravitational collapse. There is no reason to believe that the process would have been completely uniform, and it seems natural enough --at least to me-- that some of the arms would wind in from above- and some from below- the galactic plane.

Or expansion out TO a spherical shape...
Whydening Gyre
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2015
Cool! I always wanted to live in a major galaxy rather than some rural space backwater.

It's still just a backwater suburb...
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.6 / 5 (9) Mar 12, 2015
As the article said, this isn't the first time there has been observations of ripples and disk tilt, and models with dwarf galaxy collisions predict the seen features well.

I'm not sure how people tend to to think the ripples will be symmetric with the collisions. Even off-centric collisions will give a mass center oriented ripple, like in a drum skin. Here it is the balance between gravitation, rotational momentum and the friction processes that has made the disk collapse in the first place. The null scenario of no collision is a perfectly flat disk.

I am also not sure how people construe probes for visualization, since we already have it (incomplete as it is), these features are no guesses.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2015
@uD: "If our galaxy is 100K, to 150K light years in diameter, I wonder how many light years thick is it."

I don't think it will scale up much, but we will have to add in the ripples if we want to derive an "efficient disk thickness". IIRC there is a "thin disk" which is perhaps 1000 lyrs thick, and a thicker, less dense "thick disc" that extends roughly 10 times that. [But look it up!]
Nattydread
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2015
This reminds me of the animation of two neutron stars sending gravitational waves out as they orbit each other. Could gravitational waves play a role in our galaxy structure? Could the bar in the centre of the galaxy have a role?
Benni
1 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2015
in thinking those steep 'ripples' mean there's a lot more mass out there than if our galaxy was as flat as earlier models suggested? If the mass distribution changes, this will surely impinge on notions such as MOND and, possibly, reduce the need for 'Dark Matter'


Modified Newtonian gravity (MOND) is the observed feature of Elliptical galaxies which contain most of the stars in the universe (60-70%) & creates 99.9999% of all gravitational lensing because Ellipticals which create are so much more massive than Spiral galaxies. MOND also accounts for the slower rotation rates of Ellipticals at 2 km/s as cp to Spirals at 200 km/s.

Notice in all those pictures of gravitational lensing effects? Almost all those galaxies being lensed are Spirals & the galaxies creating the lensing are Ellipticals, but never the reverse. You never see pictures of Spirals lensing Ellipticals. The reason being that the gravitational fields of Spirals are so low that they cannot create lensing.
katesisco
1 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2015
Well, originally the thinking was that ellipticals evolved into spirals but maybe it is the other way around; that spirals evolve into ellipticals.
Our 'puffing up' would mean whatever was holding us flat has lost energy and the normal rules either come into effect or lose ground. And our newly discovered dwarfs, are their orbits going to be mostly circular?
Kedas
4 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2015
That's a relief, because I was feeling a bit claustrophobic.
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (9) Mar 12, 2015
They have discovered the galactic version of the Heliospheric current sheet,
http://en.wikiped...nt_sheet
;no mysterious DM or collisions needed.

What it does suggest is there are large scale electric currents/fields that go along with the large scale galactic magnetic field. The presence of those currents/fields renders the need for DM moot. No fairy dust is needed, just the proper understanding of the EM forces acting across the many scales with which they operate.
vlaaing peerd
2.4 / 5 (7) Mar 12, 2015
So this makes me think the black hole at the center of the galaxy is slowly vibrating and moving in a "verticle" motion as well as spinning. Wonder if there is any way to test that


That is an interesting question and it should be possible to test it by viewing the motional behaviour of matter around the black hole. However, the bigger and more regular the tilt, the less flat our galaxy would be.

Apart from that it is known that the rapid spin of black holes causes a "wobble" by itself and this could already create ripples. Though I have no idea if such wobbles can reach out that far, I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case here.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2015
@most

jeez people -- we have known the MW has a thickness of about 2k light years. The NEW item in this article is that the thickness has a wave like distribution. That it get thicker in waves... we assumed a nebulous thickness before, that it was in general, that stars were densest along the plane and followed a an almost bell curve thinning the farther from the plane you traveled. This new insight is stating that the density follows a wave pattern up and down which is indeed new.

We knew it had thickness and we knew about about the 3rd dimension, what was unknown was that there was a pattern to the thickness.

you guys really don't give people with a Ph.d any type of credit on here.
Benni
1 / 5 (3) Mar 12, 2015
Well, originally the thinking was that ellipticals evolved into spirals but maybe it is the other way around; that spirals evolve into ellipticals.


Ellipticals of the size that cause gravitational lensing would of necessity need to devolve in size (lose mass) if they were to become Spirals, this because the largest Spirals are all way smaller than the more massive Ellipticals of the size that cause lensing.

Maybe smaller Ellipticals could form into Spirals but for massive Ellipticals to do this would require huge losses of mass (stars). Many Ellipticals are more than 50 times the mass of our MW, so how you go about busting up something that big to create 50 Spirals the size of the MW would require some real fireworks. It would seem only a collision with another Elliptical could provide the energy to create that manner of fireworks. Maybe someone posting here can link us to observations of colliding Ellipticals, but I'm unable to find any.

Benni
1 / 5 (4) Mar 12, 2015
Cont'd from previous: Found a link to colliding giant Ellipticals discussing how rare an event such collisions are.

http://www.techti...xies.htm
baudrunner
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2015
I think that the term "ripples" is a misnomer.
someone11235813
5 / 5 (2) Mar 12, 2015
How can we be sure this is not just a manifestation of 'Andromeda envy'?
AGreatWhopper
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2015
Anyone that paid attention to The Doctor's setting five dimensional coordinates to arrive at a time/point in space in the Mutter's Sprial would have known this. :-)

@jediknight190501 demonstrates the purist form of goddamned sophistry. So, you would collect data and not use it? Not collect data? WTF are you trying to even say? Nothing. You just love the sound of your own voice. A number of parents on here need to have read the study about effusive praise causing narcissism. All these, "We'll I've never amounted to anything but a POS, but I've always thought...". Why would we care? Humans are the only vermin that cop an attitude.
jazzy_j_man
1 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2015
Pure sophistry is trolling, but what about the like of cantdrive85? There's your point about mental illness. CD85, do you have a job? Have you ever? Are you writing your response from your mother's house? Have you ever gotten laid? Highest grade completed wtih GPA? I think we know the answers. Yet you have DM totally sussed out, between whacking off, playing video games, and torturing animals. And, WHY is anyone going to stop and say, "Well, even though I can answer all those questions without shame, I'm going to chuck it all away because some IDIOT sez so". Right.

You don't have an understanding of the reality in front of your face. You certainly have nothing to say about the cosmos in general. So, just STF up.
jazzy_j_man
1 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2015
So this makes me think ...

Obviously not, Skywalker. Free association is not critical thinking. See the above.

Uh, am I mistaken..

Yes, you are. Based on luminosity; this doesn't change that.

Earlier point on parenting well taken. Any kid that starts an answer with some kind of sarcastic braying needs the back of the hand firmly applied to that offending gob. Really had it with parents that spend more time thinking up a cutesy name than ever parenting. Dump the worthless blanks on us to deal with in places like this and their "exceptional" attitudes based on the lies of parents that thought of them as an acquisition. We're not your idiot parents. You add color to these discussions like a street preacher with Tourrette's Syndrome adds color to a gay wedding. But then you probably know that everyone wants you gone. Now you're trolls.

Why'd I bothered with this? Been having no problems whatsoever at French & Dutch phys sites where idiots are humble.
cantdrive85
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2015
Pure sophistry is trolling, but what about the like of cantdrive85? There's your point about mental illness. CD85, do you have a job? Have you ever? Are you writing your response from your mother's house? Have you ever gotten laid? Highest grade completed wtih GPA? I think we know the answers. Yet you have DM totally sussed out, between whacking off, playing video games, and torturing animals.
You don't have an understanding of the reality in front of your face. You certainly have nothing to say about the cosmos in general. So, just STF up.

You keep believing in fairy dust and the associated fairy tales you're told to believe and I'll continue thinking for myself. Rather than calling people names like a 8 year old child, tell us why this observation doesn't match the already observed Heliospheric current sheet in our solar system. The laws of plasma physics shows these processes are scalable, why do you choose to plant you head in the sand?
russell_russell
1 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2015
An exciting discovery.

To test the origin of ripples from external perturbations run the film backwards.
If the ripples diminished from running the film backwards, the time where this occurs can highlight 'suspects' in the vicinity of the Milky Way that were there at that time.

"the film backwards" simply means a computer model (simulation) to test the initial and final parameters.
Dethe
1 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2015
An exciting discovery
It depends on what you already know about it. The extent of Andromeda galaxy is also much larger, than it appears at the first look
rgw
not rated yet Mar 15, 2015
Phillip and Alexander's Macedonia was just a backwater suburb. As for the stone rippling a pond. Is the 'stone impacting' at a 90 degree angle or skipping like the childhood memory?
barakn
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2015
Rather than calling people names like a 8 year old child, tell us why this observation doesn't match the already observed Heliospheric current sheet in our solar system. The laws of plasma physics shows these processes are scalable, why do you choose to plant you head in the sand?
Scalable? So you're claiming the galaxy is composed of a monstrous central star and nothing else besides some giant planets, comets, and asteroids?
russell_russell
not rated yet Mar 15, 2015
@barakn
Need your added critic to the rating you gave me. Thanks.
Dethe
1 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2015
The ripples around galaxy should be correlated with relative motion of Milky Way - maybe it's AdS/CFT dual analogy of so-called pilot wave of quantum mechanics.
I'm always impressed with reliability, in which the most insightful comments are getting downvoted with PO trolls. The stupid people must have some radar for hating and dismissing of intelligence. But the quantum wave character of dark matter has been developed recently and maybe we are just facing first observable evidence of it.
Dethe
1 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2015
In addition, there is a concept called AdS/CFT correspondence. The mainstream physics of latest forty years didn't really achieve great success in deeper understanding of reality - most of proposals of modern theories like the stringy, susy and loopy models failed the experimental scrutiny. But one of concepts really deserves a deeper attention - it's a holographic principle of AdS/CFT correspondence, which essentially says, that the phenomena at the quantum scale will mirror itself at the relativistic scales. The AdS/CFT is a theorem of five-dimensional holographic model, which gets broken heavily with another dimensions at the human observer scale, so it cannot be observed. But at the distance scale of 4D general relativity the subtle dark matter effect represent five-dimensional violation of it, and some aspects of AdS/CFT duality can be observed. IMO one of them is just the pilot wave character of dark matter around galaxies.
Dethe
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2015
The voting PO trolls usually support the mainstream science non-critically, because they're ignorant and stupid. But the same stupidity leads them into dismissal of comments, which actually support the rational core of mainstream physics - because they just don't understand it. The idiots are disaster of science in any form, they can only parrote the insights, which they remember as valid - which is nothing very much, because they've memory of tropical fish.
Caliban
5 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2015
The ripples around galaxy should be correlated with relative motion of Milky Way - maybe it's AdS/CFT dual analogy of so-called pilot wave of quantum mechanics.
I'm always impressed with reliability, in which the most insightful comments are getting downvoted with PO trolls. The stupid people must have some radar for hating and dismissing of intelligence. But the quantum wave character of dark matter http://www.scienc...2358.htm and maybe we are just facing first observable evidence of it.


@Dethe,

Sometimes your comments have merit, and sometimes not. However, one thing is for sure --you aren't going to win any converts to your views by quoting yourself, and any time you do --then you should expect to be downvoted, for reasons which should be obvious.
Dethe
1 / 5 (1) Mar 15, 2015
The fully Socratic discussion should be background independent like the spreading of information inside of Universe - the name of persons engaged in it shouldn't matter at all. You should therefore detach your attitude from persons and focus to the subject. This is what actually matters in matter of fact discussion. Note that I'm replying to quotes cited, never the @names. If we would discuss anonymously, it would certainly help the objective character of discussion.
Matto80
not rated yet Mar 16, 2015
do these waves require a medium? and if so,
what is the medium?

is this indirect evidence of dark matter/energy ?
Dethe
1 / 5 (2) Mar 16, 2015
IMO these waves don't require medium, until they're driven with particles acting at distance. If the particles in intergalactic gas are repulsive and inertial, they do act like elastic springs by itself. The another question is, what the "action at distance" means and whether it doesn't require the medium on background (like the magnetism) by itself. In aether or Maxwell model the magnetism is result of turbulence of vacuum in extradimensions. I.e. sorta analogy of the force, in which they're interacting vortices at the water surface via motion of underwater.
Dethe
1 / 5 (1) Mar 16, 2015
is this indirect evidence of dark matter/energy
It's hard to say in a given moment. It could be evidence of dark matter, if we would prove, no electrostatic or another classical forces are involved. If we should believe the above picture, then this wave looks like the pilot wave of quantum mechanics, so it could be a dark matter effect. But the question is, what this picture has to do with reality. We know about many sonic waves in interstellar gas, which are result of supernovae explosions. If central area of Milky way exploded in distant past, it would also leave some ripples across whole galaxy. IMO we should correlate the orientation of these ripples with direction of motion of Milky Way toward another galaxies or CMBR Doppler anisotropy for to get a better clue about nature of this effect.
Dethe
1 / 5 (2) Mar 16, 2015
BTW There can be another source of waves - the collision of some dwarf galaxy (which are encircling the Milky Way like the satellites) with the galactic plane. The reason why I'm rather skeptical regarding the dark matter wave interpretation is, we did never observe it at another galaxies, where it should be detectable easily, because we are observing them from outside. Why just Milky Way should exhibit some ripples?
barakn
5 / 5 (2) Mar 16, 2015
If we would discuss anonymously, it would certainly help the objective character of discussion. -Dethe
Zephir - no matter how anonymous you try to be, you end up saying something idiotic about AWT or cold fusion or global warming due to galactic mid-plane neutrinos and thereby betray your identity. Objective discussions cannot be held with parrots.

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