Is Dark Matter Fuzzy? Study Offers An Intriging Insight Into The Invisible Matter In The Universe

Posted: Apr 28 2017, 11:11pm CDT | by , Updated: Apr 29 2017, 12:33am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Is Dark Matter Fuzzy? Study Offers an Intriging Insight into the Invisible Matter in the Universe
The graphic shows four of the 13 galaxies clusters used in the study. Credit: Adam Block/Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter/U. Arizona

Observations from NASA's Chandra Observatory suggest that dark matter may be more fuzzy than cold

While researchers do not know what the dark matter really is, they certainly know it exists. Its existence is inferred from the gravitational effect it seems to have on nearby visible matter.

The nature of dark matter is largely unknown. So far, theories have ranged from saying that it is made up of cold, warm or hot matter, with the most widely accepted theory being the Cold Dark Matter. However, a new study suggests that dark matter may be more fuzzy than cold.

Researchers based their conclusion on the observations of 13 galaxy clusters in the nearby. Unfortunately, the new findings would not help solve the cosmological problem; only add to the complexity around the concept.

The universe is made up of only 5 percent of ordinary or visible matter. The remaining 95 percent constitutes 25 percent dark matter and 70 percent dark energy, both of which are entirely invisible. Dark matter has had major effects on the growth of the universe and by studying these phenomena we can estimate how much dark matter there is and ultimately what it is made of.

The different theories on dark matter (hot, cold and warm) do not refer to the temperatures of the matter itself, but the size of the particles in dark matter.

The most popular theory says that dark matter is cold and is belevied to be made up of massive particles. However, there remains some holes in this theory, the biggest of which is that cold dark matter model predicts a much higher number of small galaxies orbiting around galaxies than astronomers actually see.

Also, the density of dark matter in the center of galaxies is much higher than its surrounding regions. However, astronomers observe that the density of both dark and normal matter in the center of galaxies is much more evenly spread out. To address these problems with the cold dark matter model, astronomers have come up with alternative fuzzy dark matter model where the invisible matter has very different properties.

A team of researchers used Chandra observations of the hot gas in 13 galaxy clusters to estimate both the amount of dark matter in each cluster and how the density of this matter varies among different regions. Researchers found that simple fuzzy dark matter model has been more successful at explaining the amount and location of dark matter in small galaxies. The model suggests that the dark matter particles can have different amounts of energy, similar to an atom with electrons in higher energy orbits. The difference in energy alters how the density of dark matter varies with distance away from the center of the galaxy cluster.

The result shows that the fuzzy dark matter model may be a better alternative to cold dark matter, but further research is needed to confirm its viability.

Source: Chandra X-ray Obeservatory

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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