http://w.astro.berkeley.edu/~mwhite/darkmatter/essay.html, A good overview of dark matter. Quote. The density of matter in the solar neighborhood is measured by sampling a uniform population of luminous stars that extends well above the disk of the galaxy. The average velocities of the stars and the vertical distances they traverse above the disk provide a measure of the gravitational restoring force that keeps these stars in the disk. From the strength of this force, one can deduce the total density of matter that exerts this gravitational pull. Comparing this density with actual counts of stars, one finds that the number of observed stars falls short, by perhaps as much as a factor of 2, of the number needed to account for this density. This is the first hint of any dark matter, and it is present in the vicinity of the sun. It should be noted that the amount of such a shortfall in the disk matter is controversial.