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New method appears to be like for darkish matter traces in darkish locations – Nanowerk

(Nanowerk Information) To this point, the one direct proof we’ve for the existence of darkish matter is thru gravity-based results on the matter we are able to see. And these gravitational results are so pronounced that we all know it should make up about 85 p.c of all matter within the universe.
However we all know little else about darkish matter, together with whether or not it’s made up of as-yet-undiscovered particles.
There are a lot of competing theories for the composition and properties of darkish matter, and for whether or not darkish matter has any seen markers to finally unmask it.
Among the many theorized darkish matter particle candidates are WIMPs (weakly interactive large particles), axions, and sterile neutrinos – and physicists have looked for every sort utilizing quite a lot of Earth and space-based devices and strategies.
The Milky Way Galaxy's Predicted Dark Matter Halo
On this composite picture, theorized particles of decaying darkish matter ought to produce a spherical halo of X-ray emission – represented right here as colorized matter concentrated across the heart of the Milky Manner (in black and white) – that might be detectable when trying in in any other case clean areas of the galaxy. (Picture: Zosia Rostomian and Nicholas Rodd/Berkeley Lab; and Christopher Dessert and Benjamin Safdi/College of Michigan)
Almost 20 years in the past, physicists steered that the theorized sterile neutrino type of darkish matter might be answerable for emitting gentle at a particular vitality as its particles decay away in house, and in 2014 a research detailed a lightweight signature, known as the “3.5 keV line,” present in very massive galaxy clusters – keV is a measure of vitality that represents a thousand electron volts or kilo electron volts.
The research theorized that this line, which had no confirmed supply, might be the smoking gun for darkish matter decay that scientists had been looking for.
However a brand new research by scientists on the U.S. Division of Vitality’s (DOE’s) Lawrence Berkeley Nationwide Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), UC Berkeley, and the College of Michigan – publishing within the journal Science (“Evidence against the decaying dark matter interpretation of the 3.5 keV line from blank sky observations”) – concludes that this rationalization of sterile neutrino decay is now basically dominated out because the supply of this line.
“Our discovering doesn’t imply that the darkish matter will not be a sterile neutrino, but it surely signifies that … there isn’t any experimental proof to-date that factors in direction of its existence,” mentioned Benjamin Safdi, a research co-author and an assistant professor of physics on the College of Michigan.
The researchers’ strategy, which analyzed X-ray telescope observations of darkish locations inside our personal galaxy the place darkish matter was anticipated, didn’t discover proof of the three.5 keV line.
“Our limits are so sturdy that they’re prone to trigger issue for any easy fashions of darkish matter,” mentioned Nicholas Rodd, research co-author and a physicist affiliated with the Berkeley Lab principle group and the Berkeley Heart for Theoretical Physics, which has school members from UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab. Rodd has been working with Safdi for a number of years in researching attainable seen manifestations of darkish matter in house.
The method the researchers developed, which is detailed within the newest research, additionally has the potential to investigate, with excessive sensitivity, different attainable darkish matter signatures in house.
“Whereas this work does, sadly, throw chilly water on what appeared like may need been the primary proof for the microscopic nature of darkish matter, it does open up an entire new strategy to searching for darkish matter which may result in a discovery within the close to future,” Safdi mentioned.
As a substitute of different galaxies and galaxy clusters – locations anticipated to be particularly wealthy in darkish matter – for indicators of this 3.5 keV line, the researchers analyzed knowledge from greater than 20 years’ value of X-ray telescope photos of “empty” house inside our personal Milky Manner galaxy the place you may count on the presence of darkish matter however nothing else.
Based mostly on noticed gravitational results related to darkish matter, galaxies together with our personal Milky Manner galaxy are anticipated to be surrounded by so-called halos of darkish matter. Such halos would clarify observations displaying that objects nearer to a galaxy’s heart orbit as the identical velocity as objects on the outskirts, which defies rationalization for those who solely keep in mind seen matter.
“In every single place we glance, there needs to be some flux of darkish matter from the Milky Manner halo,” Rodd mentioned, owing to our photo voltaic system’s location within the galaxy. “We exploited the truth that we dwell in a halo of darkish matter” within the research.
Christopher Dessert, a research co-author who’s a physics researcher and Ph.D. scholar on the College of Michigan, mentioned galaxy clusters the place the three.5 keV line has been noticed even have massive background indicators, which function noise in observations and may make it troublesome to pinpoint particular indicators that could be related to darkish matter.
“The explanation why we’re trying by means of the galactic darkish matter halo of our Milky Manner galaxy is that the background is way decrease,” Dessert mentioned.
The researchers used knowledge from the XMM-Newton (X-ray Multi-Mirror) mission, a space-based X-ray telescope launched in 1999 by the European House Company. They restricted the information they used to a set of photos from about 800 so-called “clean sky” areas in house that have been sampled inside 5 to 45 levels of the Milky Manner’s galactic heart – areas anticipated to have larger concentrations of darkish matter.
They in contrast their very own evaluation to others’ analyses that have been based mostly on observations of areas in house regarded as wealthy in darkish matter, such because the Perseus Cluster of galaxies and the Andromeda Galaxy.
Rodd mentioned the crew’s evaluation method might be used to reanalyze knowledge taken from different X-ray telescopes’ observations to scan in excessive element for different gentle indicators emitted throughout a far broader vary of energies.
“How can we prolong this system to take a look at extra circumstances?” Rodd mentioned. “There are tons of different datasets on the market that we do not say something about on this research. If you’re trying generically for dark-matter decay and also you wish to have extra sensitivity, that is the way in which. This can be a normal instrument that anybody looking for darkish matter can use.”

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