The Milky Way is often depicted as a flat, spinning disk of dust, gas, and stars. Now, Harvard astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) have performed the first calculations that fully explain this phenomenon, with compelling evidence pointing to the Milky Way’s envelopment in an off-kilter halo of dark matter. Building on that, the team assumed the same shape for the dark matter halo, the larger entity that encompasses everything in and around the Milky Way. Confidence in these findings might lead to better ways to cleverly study the unobservable dark matter that makes up most of the universe. This includes new ways to pick up on kinematic signatures of dark sub-halos, which are miniature dark matter halos zipping around the galaxy.