October 16, 2021

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A ‘lump’ of dark matter may be ripping apart Taurus’ face

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The Hyades — a young, V-shaped cluster of stars swooshing through the head of the constellation Taurus — is slowly being ripped apart by an enormous, invisible mass, a new study suggests. This unrest in the bull’s head could point to an ancient cache of dark matter left over from the Milky Way‘s creation, the study authors said.

In the new paper, published March 24 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, researchers used data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia star-mapping satellite to investigate the history of the Hyades. Located about 150 light-years from Earth, this family of several hundred stars is the closest star cluster to our solar system, and it’s clearly visible in the night sky. (One of its brighter stars, Epsilon Tauri, is also called the “Bull’s eye” for its prominent position on the face of Taurus.)

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