The most cited evidence for (non-baryonic) dark matter has been an apparent lack of visible mass to gravitationally support the observed orbital velocity of matter in rotating disk galaxies, yet measurement of the mass of celestial objects cannot be straightforward, requiring theories derived from the known physical laws along with some empirically established semi-quantitative relationship. The most reliable means for determining the mass distribution in rotating disk galaxies is to solve a force balance equation according to Newton’s laws from measured rotation curves, similar to calculating the Sun’s mass from the Earth’s orbital velocity. Another common method to estimate galactic mass distribution is to convert measured brightness from surface photometry based on empirically established mass-to-light ratio. For convenience, most astronomers commonly assumed a constant mass-to-light ratio for estimation of the so-called “luminous” or “visible” mass, which would not likely be accurate. The mass determined from a rotation curve typically exhibits an exponential-like decline with galactrocentric distance, qualitatively consistent with observed surface brightness but often with a larger disk radial scale length. This fact scientifically suggests variable mass-to-light ratio of baryonic matter in galaxies without the need for dark matter.
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