Is this blob of hydrogen actually spinning, thus betraying all the dark matter in the vicinity, distending nearby NGC 4254? Scientists say maybe.
Skeptics of the dark-matter interpretation argue that VIRGOHI21 is simply a tidal tail of the nearby galaxy NGC 4254.
The observations, made with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands, show that the hydrogen gas in VIRGOHI 21 appears to be rotating, suggesting a dark galaxy with over ten billion times the mass of the Sun. Only one percent of this mass has been detected as neutral hydrogen – the rest appears to be dark matter.
The results may also solve a long-standing puzzle about nearby galaxy NGC 4254 -a lopsided object, with one spiral arm much larger than the rest. This is usually caused by the influence of a companion galaxy, but none could be found until now – the team thinks VIRGOHI 21 is the culprit.
The more important mystery: what impact will this have on astrology? An astrologer suggests none, because astrology isn’t usable to make predictions. It’s all about “synchrony”, which means coincidental correlations, which can’t possibly rise to the level of statistical significance. Hey, that’s not me talking, that’s Ed Kohout, Serious Astrologer™.