Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers suggest that ’dark-matter highway’ may be streaming through Earth

25.03.2004


Findings offer clearer view of how to detect unseen matter in the universe



Astrophysicist Heidi Newberg at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her colleagues suggest that a "highway" of dark matter from another galaxy may be showering down on Earth. The findings may change the way astronomers look for mysterious cosmic particles, long suspected to outweigh known atomic matter.

The findings of Newberg and researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Utah have been published in the March 19 issue of Physical Review Letters.


Scientists believe that about 90 percent of the mass in the universe is made up of particles called "dark matter." This belief is based on an unseen gravitational pull on the stars, but observations to directly detect dark matter have been sketchy. One Italy-based research group, called DAMA (for DArk MAtter), has made steady claims to have detected particles of dark matter, but so far the results have not been confirmed.

But, the disruption of a dwarf galaxy called Sagittarius, which is being torn apart and consumed by the much larger gravitational pull of the Milky Way, may be the key to reconciling the results of dark matter experiments of DAMA and other research groups.

The dwarf galaxy’s entrails of stars and dust, like a long piece of ribbon, are entangled around and within our galaxy. The so-called "trailing tidal tail" can be seen to extend from Sagittarius’ center and arcs across and below the plane of the Milky Way. The leading part of the tail extends northward above our galaxy where it then turns and appears to be showering shredded galaxy debris down directly on our solar system, Newberg and colleagues say.

"As the Milky Way consumes Sagittarius, it not only rips the stars from the smaller galaxy, but also tears away some of the dark-matter particles from that galaxy. We may be able to directly observe that in the form of a dark-matter highway streaming in one direction through the Earth," says Newberg, who has recently identified stars near the sun that could be part of this leading tidal tail.

WIMPs, or Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, are the most likely form of dark matter. Astrophysicists measure the possibility of WIMP detection based on calculations that the particles are coming from the Milky Way’s galactic halo.

As Earth orbits around the center of the galaxy, the planet flies through this cloud of dark matter. As that happens, billions of these weakly interacting (and therefore difficult to detect) particles could be passing through each of our bodies every second.

As a result of the new findings, scientists now have another source in which to look for these dark-matter particles, says Katherine Freese, University of Michigan researcher and co-author of the Physical Review Letters paper. Freese, her graduate student Matthew Lewis, and Paolo Gondolo from the University of Utah have calculated the effects that the tidal stream would have on dark-matter detection experiments.

"If you expect to see only halo WIMPs, there will be an extra set of particles streaming through the Earth that were not accounted for," Freese says. "Scientists will need to adjust their calculations to look for this. Finding this stream would represent a smoking gun for dark-matter detection."


About Rensselaer

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation’s oldest technological university. The school offers degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of research centers that are characterized by strong industry partnerships. The Institute is especially well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

Jodi Ackerman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu/dept/NewsComm/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science

nachricht Artificial agent designs quantum experiments
19.01.2018 | Universität Innsbruck

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>