- Education and Science»
Proof of dark matter?
Swiss and Dutch scientists have discovered with the help of X-rays, after decades of intense research, a mysterious signal that could prove that dark matter exists in the Universe.
Dark matter represents the invisible substance which, according to scientists, makes out most of the Universe, the visible matter being only 20% of its total mass.
Although the scientist could observe the dark matter indirectly, analyzing its gravitational effects over visible matter, they haven’t been able to get tangible proof to certify its existence until this study.
This week, scientists from Sweden and Holland have announced that they detected a signal which marks the dark matter particles decomposition.
Studying the signal
During the study, scientists have analyzed X-rays emitted by two celestial formations: Perseus cluster – a cluster of galaxies at about 250 million light years away from Earth - and the “sister” of the Milky Way, Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away.The study was made using data collected from XMN-Newton telescope, operated by the ESA (European Space Agency), which detected a mysterious “anomaly” that could not have been emitted by any other known particle.
The same anomaly detected in X-ray emissions was also identified by a team of scientists from Harvard in July; they announced the detection of the mentioned anomaly in the data collected from 70 galaxy clusters.
“This minor excess (a few hundred extra photons) was interpreted as an emission which has its origin in the extremely rare phenomenon of dark matter particles decomposition”, stated researcher Alexey Boyarsky, physics professor at the University of Leiden Holland, and coordinator of the new study. “Although the signal is very weak, it passed the numerous check points test”, he added.
The signal is concentrated in the center and weaker at the edges of the galaxy clusters Andromeda and Perseus, exactly like the scientist expected. The study coordinator unraveled the fact that his team detected a signal with the same wavelength, which comes from our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
Professor Boyarsky believes that these signals are produced by the dark matter particles decomposition, possibly from the emissions generated by a special particle: “Sterile Neutrinos”; it is a hypothetical particle, which is 100th part of an electron in size.
The study will be published next week in the magazine: “Physical Review Letters”