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The galaxy NGC 1052-DF2, or DF2 for short, reportedly has 400 times less dark matter than expected for an object of its size.

But after 30-plus years of telescope observations, most researchers do agree on one thing: The universe contains a lot of it. Astrophysicists think dark matter dominates ordinary matter in the universe by more than five times because galaxies rotate too fast for their visible star-stuff to handle. So-called dark matter is as much a defining feature of galaxies as stars and gas, and is thought to provide the gravitational seeds from which galaxies assemble and grow. To resolve the discrepancy, the team scrutinized the galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope, the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory, the latter two on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

NGC1052-DF2 was first spotted by Professor Pieter van Dokkum, lead author of the study published in Nature. "It is literally a see-through galaxy", he added. By looking at the dynamical properties of ten globular clusters - essentially, a very large ball of stars - orbiting the galaxy, it allowed the team to work out an independent value of the galaxies mass. "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". The galaxy is on one end of two extremes, the other anchored by Dragonfly 44, another odd galaxy discovered by the same team in 2016. But there is no theory as to why dark matter would be missing in galaxies when it was thought to be their building block.

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At the beginning of everything, those simulations suggest, all the matter we see in the galaxy was spread out in a thin gas. "But what would you get if there were no dark matter at all?"

Astronomers first discovered the galaxy in 2000 as a smudge on old photographic plates.

Ultra-Diffuse galaxies had actually been recognized formerly in various other galaxy collections. "The standard paradigm has gas falling into halos - or lumps - of dark matter and turning into stars to make a galaxy", he said.

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The discovery of the galaxy without dark matter, according to van Dokkum, "was completely unexpected". And 10 objects isn't always enough to accurately measure a galaxy's movement."When more data are obtained, sometimes this [amount] proves to have been enough, but sometimes it proves to have been inadequate". The formation of NGC 1052-DF2 may have been helped by powerful winds emanating from the young black hole that was growing in the center of NGC 1052. Their measurements showed that this galaxy's stars can handle its rotational speed. But how it formed is a complete mystery. Another idea is that it formed from matter spewed out by quasars.

We don't really know what dark matter is and why it exists... or why it doesn't.

"It is conventionally believed to be an integral part of all galaxies, the glue that holds them together and the underlying scaffolding on which they are built", said co-author Allison Merritt from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, in Germany. But when the team compared them to a better image from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, they found a surprising mismatch. In fact, it is believed that galaxies start their lives as blobs of dark matter. Some physicists have postulated that there is no such thing as dark matter, however, and that what we perceive as giant, starlight-bending clumps of heavy, invisible material is actually something else that is profoundly misunderstood.

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