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The constant Q is the ratio of two fundamental energies, and has a value of 1/100,000.
It is to do with the gravitational binding energy of a structure, and it's mass energy (mc^2).
It is important because it determines how tightly galaxies and clusters of galaxies are bound together.
A clear and detailed explanation of why it must have this value is given in the book Just Six Numbers by Martin J Rees.
last modified 18:31 2005/02/17