Modified Newtonian dynamics

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In physics, Modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) is a hypothesis that proposes a modification of Newton's law of gravity to explain the galaxy rotation problem. When the uniform velocity of rotation of galaxies was first observed, it was unexpected because Newtonian theory of gravity predicts that objects that are farther out will have lower velocities. For example, planets in the Solar System orbit with velocities that decrease as their distance from the Sun increases.

MOND was proposed by Mordehai Milgrom in 1983 as a way to model this observed uniform velocity data.[1] Milgrom noted that Newton's law for gravitational force has been verified only where gravitational acceleration is large, and suggested that for extremely low accelerations the theory may not hold. MOND theory posits that acceleration is not linearly proportional to force at low values.

MOND stands in contrast to the more widely accepted theory of dark matter. Dark matter theory suggests that each galaxy contains a halo of an as yet unidentified type of matter that provides an overall mass distribution different from the observed distribution of normal matter. This dark matter modifies gravity so as to cause the uniform rotation velocity data.


Overview: Galaxy dynamics

Observations of the rotation rates of spiral galaxies began in 1978. By the early 1980s it was clear that galaxies did not exhibit the same pattern of decreasing orbital velocity with increasing distance from the center of mass observed in the Solar System. A spiral galaxy consists of a bulge of stars at the centre with a vast disc of stars orbiting around the central group. If the orbits of the stars were governed solely by gravitational force and the observed distribution of normal matter, it was expected that stars at the outer edge of the disc would have a much lower orbital velocity than those near the middle. In the observed galaxies this pattern is not apparent. Stars near the outer edge orbit at the same speed as stars closer to the middle.

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