Where is the dark matter?

Neta A. Bahcall, Lori M. Lubin, Victoria Dorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


How much dark matter is there in the universe and where is it located? These are two of the most fundamental questions in cosmology. We use in this paper optical and X-ray mass determinations of galaxies, groups, and clusters of galaxies to suggest that most of the dark matter may reside in very large halos around galaxies, typically extending to -200 kpc for bright galaxies. We show that the mass-to-light ratio of galaxy systems does not increase significantly with linear scale beyond the very large halos suggested for individual galaxies. Rather, the total mass of large-scale systems such as groups and rich clusters of galaxies, even superclusters, can on average be accounted for by the total mass of their member galaxies, including their large halos (which may be stripped off in the dense cluster environment but still remain in the clusters) plus the mass of the hot intracluster gas. This conclusion also suggests that we may live in a low-density universe with H - 0.2-0.3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L81-L85
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Large-scale structure of universe


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