The astrophysics community is promoting a paradigm shift in our understanding of the universe following the discovery of a massive cluster of galaxies called El Gordo. According to a group of researchers from the United Kingdom and Germany, the existence of El Gordo is incompatible with the standard theories of cosmology and may require a new gravity model.

In standard cosmology, galactic clusters form at the intersections of dark matter filaments within the cosmic web. It is expected that these clusters grow at a similar rate as matter falls into the nodes. However, El Gordo is exceptionally massive for its age, raising questions about its formation process.

Recent observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and simulations conducted by the researchers suggest that the morphology, temperature, and X-ray luminosity of El Gordo can only be explained if two smaller clusters collided at an unusually high speed.

This finding challenges the role of dark matter in the known cosmological model called ΛCDM or LCDM. Dark matter is a mysterious substance believed to make up a significant part of the total matter in the universe. However, simulations indicate that the required collision velocity for El Gordo cannot be explained by gravitational models of dark matter. This discrepancy raises doubts about the validity of LCDM.

The researchers argue in favor of an alternative theory of gravity known as Modified Newtonian Dynamics, or MOND, which does not depend on the existence of dark matter. They believe that El Gordo and other clusters that show tensions with LCDM provide evidence that dark matter is a fantasy. However, some scientists maintain that the observed anomalies in these clusters can be explained by systematic errors or different interpretations of the data.

This ongoing debate calls for a more collaborative approach between observational astronomers and theoretical physicists. It emphasizes the importance of combining data collection, analysis, and interpretation to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the universe.

In conclusion, the massive size of El Gordo challenges the current understanding of cosmology and raises significant questions about the role of dark matter. Whether this discovery will lead to a paradigm shift in our understanding of the universe remains to be seen. However, it highlights the ongoing pursuit of knowledge and the constant questioning of established theories in the field of astrophysics.

– The Astrophysical Journal
– Physics World