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

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


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)
Title of host publicationAstrophysics and Space Science Proceedings
EditorsR.S. De Jong
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781402055737
ISBN (Print)9780387727677, 9780387876207, 9781402055720, 9781402055720, 9781402069321, 9781402088674, 9781402091896, 9781441981608, 9781441983688, 9783540758259, 9783642033230, 9783642103216, 9783642103513, 9783642113406, 9783642172502, 9789048133994, 9789048134984
StatePublished - 2007
EventInternational Conference on Island Universe: Structure and Evolution of Disk Galaxies, 2005 - Terschelling, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 3 2005Jul 5 2005

Publication series

NameAstrophysics and Space Science Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1570-6591
ISSN (Electronic)1570-6605


ConferenceInternational Conference on Island Universe: Structure and Evolution of Disk Galaxies, 2005


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'A dark galaxy in the virgo cluster imaged at 21-cm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this