Home Sciences The fifth force could explain the puzzling orbits of dwarf galaxies

The fifth force could explain the puzzling orbits of dwarf galaxies


Hypothetical particles called symmetrons could generate a special force that creates invisible boundaries in space, known as “domain walls”: they would be what keep satellite galaxies in their anomalous orbits.

The supposed “fifth force” of nature could be responsible for the strange and unexplained arrangement of dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way and other large galaxies, according to new research from the UK.

The fifth force could also shed light on the nature of dark matter, a mysterious substance that makes up about 85% of the matter in the universe, according to this research.

For current Physics, there are only four fundamental forces: electromagnetism, gravity, the strong force and the weak force, although it also recognizes that they are not enough to explain everything, among other things dark matter, which does not interact with the electromagnetic field .

This lack has led researchers to explore what they call a “new physics”, for which some significant evidence has been obtained in the past.

New Physics

It is believed that fifth forceresulting from new physics, acts with an intensity equivalent to that of gravity, which means that it would be much weaker than the electromagnetic interaction or the strong nuclear interaction, although its existence is difficult to verify.

On the other hand, at a cosmological level, the universe is considered to have three basic components: dark energy, dark matter, and normal or baryonic matter.

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The Lambda Cold Dark Matter (ΛCDM) model, which is the standard of current cosmology, states that huge galaxies, like the Milky Way, formed as a result of mergers of smaller galaxies that developed in a dark matter environment.

satellite galaxies

This theory also establishes that the smaller galaxies should be attracted by the gravity of the larger galaxies, subjecting them to unpredictable orbits, something that, according to observations, is not happening, and no one knows why.

This unexplained behavior has turned small galaxies into satellites of the largest galaxieswhich confirms an anomaly between what the cosmological model predicts and what actually happens.

Some theories have been proposed to explain this anomaly, the last of them being formulated by two researchers from the University of Nottingham, Aneesh Naik (astrophysicist) and Clare Burrage (particle physics), as explained in an article published in arXiv.

They consider that in the scenario of the galaxies the indicated fifth force is acting, which is what would be governing the anomalous orbits of the satellite galaxies: they surround the largest galaxies forming disks similar to the rings of Saturn, according to the researchers.


These discs, outside the standard cosmological model, have been observed not only around the Milky Way, but also around other galaxies, such as Andromeda or Centaurus A.

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To explain this anomaly, Naik and Burrage propose that hypothetical particles called symmetrons they could generate a special force that creates invisible limits in space, known as “domain walls”: they would be the ones that keep satellite galaxies in their anomalous orbits.

They add that there is a 50 percent chance that symmetrons force spatial regions (large galaxies and small galaxies) to adopt different values, which would explain the orbital differences between galaxies, depending on their size.

Dark matter

Naik and Burrage’s proposal and the fifth force could also have something to say about the nature of dark matter, Naik explains to PhysicsWorld: “it is a new fundamental force because it is a force mediated by a new particle, of the same so that the electromagnetic force is mediated by the photon.

In any case, the proposal is for the moment only a proof of concept that can only be ratified if it is proven that symmetrons really exist, something that perhaps can confirm the james webb telescopesince it will study like never before the formation of the universe in its first moments.


Dark sector domain walls could explain the observed plans of satellites. Aneesh P. Naik, Clare Burrage. arXiv:2205.00712v1 [astro-ph.GA]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2205.00712

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