A Dark Matter Hurricane Is Heading Towards Earth

Posted: Nov 17 2018, 12:00pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 17 2018, 12:04pm CST, in Latest Science News


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A Dark Matter Hurricane is Heading Towards Earth
Credit: C. O'Hare; NASA/Jon Lomberg

The hurricane offers chance to detect axions, particles that might make up dark matter.

A dark matter hurricane is currently interacting with our solar system. Researchers suggest that the event provides an excellent opportunity to study dark matter in conditions which cannot be explored through telescopes.

Dark matter is a mysterious material that makes up the bulk of the universe’s mass. But it has not been observed directly. Unlike ordinary matter, dark matter does not absorb, reflect, or emit light. Its presence can only be indirectly inferred from gravitational effects it has on visible matter.

The exact nature of dark matter is one of the most challenging questions in modern physics and astrophysics. Even after decades of research and observations, there is still much about dark matter we do not know. More progress is promised by explorations of other processes that are underway in our solar system.

In the latest effort, researchers have been studying the S1 stream - a massive collection of stars. Their movement suggests that these stars were once part of a dwarf galaxy that was consumed by the Milky Way. And astronomers know that galaxies not only contain stars but also hot gas and other material.

The S1 stream was discovered last year with the help of Gaia satellite. Other such streams have been observed before, but this is the first time that such kind of stream is crossing paths with our own solar system. The S1 offers scientists a rare opportunity to find clues about dark matter.

“As S1 moved through our area, theory suggests dark matter should have been moving along with it. Calculations by the team suggest it should be moving at approximately 500 km/s.” Statement said.

Although new effort will not lead to direct detection of dark matter, it will help researchers find axions. Axions are a kind of hypothetical elementary particle that might make up the dark matter. Axions are important because finding them, if they exist, could hold the key to confirming the existence of dark matter.

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<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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