New Evidence Suggests Dark Matter Can Be Heated Up And Moved Around

Posted: Jan 11 2019, 2:10am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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New Evidence Suggests Dark Matter can be Heated Up and Moved Around
Credit: University of Surrey

The effect known as 'dark matter heating' provides clues to the nature of dark matter.

Researchers have reported first evidence of unusual dark matter movement inside galaxies. During star formation, dark matter in galaxies slowly heats up and moves away from the center. The effect is known as 'dark matter heating' and could hold clues about the nature of the invisible matter.

"This study may be the "smoking gun" evidence that takes us a step closer to understanding what dark matter is. Our finding that it can be heated up and moved around helps to motivate searches for a dark matter particle." Co-author Professor Matthew Walker from Carnegie Mellon University said.

Dark matter makes up about 85 percent of the total mass of the universe, yet it is hard to observe directly. Previous observations suggested that dark matter can be either concentrated at the centers of galaxies or uniformly distributed over larger scales. Dark matter doesn't give off light, so the only way this matter can be detected is by looking for its gravitational pull on other matter. That is especially true for dwarf galaxies. Although almost all galaxies contain dark matter, the structures of dwarf galaxies are dominated by dark matter.

In looking for dark matter, researchers measured the amount of dark matter at the centers of 16 dwarf galaxies with very different star formation histories. When stars form, strong winds can push gas and dust away from the heart of the galaxy. As a result, the galaxy's center has less mass. The scenario alters gravitational field strength and affects remaining dark matter. Researchers found that galaxies that stopped forming stars long ago had higher dark matter densities at their centers than those that are still forming stars today. This conclusion lends supports to the idea that the older galaxies had less dark matter heating.

"We found a truly remarkable relationship between the amount of dark matter at the centers of these tiny dwarfs, and the amount of star formation they have experienced over their lives,” said lead author Professor Justin Read from University of Surrey. “The dark matter at the centers of the star-forming dwarfs appears to have been 'heated up' and pushed out."

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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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