Scientists might have finally discovered a dark matter signal. After searching through x-ray data that was gathered from one of the telescopes of the European Space Agency, astronomers saw a strange radiation spike they were unable to explain from any known atom or molecule. This caused the group to believe that it could potentially be from dark matter. They have written up a research report on the phenomena, which is scheduled to be printed next week in Physical Review Letters.
Dark matter is considered to be an enigmatic material which has managed to dodge scientists for years. It cannot be directly seen because it does not emit or absorb any type of light. Because of this, astronomers have only been able to deduce its presence due to the fact that it appears to wield gravitational pull on usual matter which is detectable to the naked eye.
As researchers observe the speed which galaxies rotate, they are faced with a strange occurrence. The clusters are turning around so quickly that they should have been pulled apart a very long time ago. This is due to the gravity created by the matter that is seen is deficient in keeping them intact. That is the reason why astronomers believe there is something out there unseen that gives them the additional gravity they require to stay together. Such interpretations have led scientists to guesstimate that dark matter might just make as much as 80 percent of all material in the entire universe.
Even though astronomers have yet to detect or even measure any of the dark substance, the brand new interpretations suggest that they might have finally discovered tangible confirmation. The weird radiation spike was not found to have been any type of instrument error or measurement mistake after careful checks were made of all the equipment.
The research report’s main author, Oleg Ruchayskiy, explained that the signal’s distribution within the galaxy corresponded precisely to what his team expected dark matter would do. It appeared intense and concentrated in the middle of particles and also seemed to more fragile near the edges. The scientists discuss what they found in more detail in the video below:
The astronomers believe the signal may have shown up because a dark matter element was destroyed. As it did, the particles of the element began to decay. They are considered relatives of particles known as neutrinos and they could have created X-rays.
The scientists were from the Netherlands and Switzerland. To perform their research, the group scrutinized x-rays discharged from two different cosmic objects. They from were the Perseus array of galaxies, which are located about 260 million light years from Earth, and the Andromeda galaxy. It is around 2.4 million light years away from the Milky Way Galaxy and is considered a “sister” galaxy. This very same strange x-ray emission spike was also perceived by an exploration group back in the summer of this year, which proclaimed they had also spotted the emission in space data.
Dr. Alexey Boyarsky, who works as a professor of physics at a university in the Netherlands and was one of the co authors of the research report, explained that the tiny photons were believed to be decay from the dark matter as well. Even though the signal was weak, he stated that it passed check marks that scientists put in place in case it was not from decaying dark matter. Dr. Boyarsky and the group think the signal has actually come from dark matter decay.
He explained that if they were able to get confirmation of the dark matter, it could lead to the development of new kinds of telescopes that would be especially designed for learning about the dark matter signals. If scientists are able to confirm such a discovery, they think it may begin a whole new age in astronomy as well.
By Kimberly Ruble