Scientists have been able to register for the first time particles (axions), of which dark matter is likely to be composed. If the discovery is confirmed, it will not only solve the problem of elusiveness of dark matter, which has haunted scientists for more than 30 years, but will also become a breakthrough in our understanding of the Universe.
Dark matter is hypothetical matter, invisible in the electromagnetic spectrum and practically in no way (except for gravity) affecting ordinary matter, which makes up approximately 85% of all matter in the observable Universe and 26.8% of its mass.
Until now, scientists have not been able to determine the nature of dark matter, that is, what it is and what it consists of. It is assumed that dark, like ordinary matter, should be composed of elementary particles.
Astronomers from the University of Leicester managed, by analyzing almost the entire array of archived data of the XMM-Newton telescope, to detect an "inexplicable" signal in the X-ray range, which may prove to be evidence of the existence of axions - hypothetical particles that are considered by scientists as candidates for dark matter.
In their study, scientists removed all bright sources of radiation in this range from X-ray images of space in order to study the X-ray background of the night sky.
The X-ray background - the sky from which all sources of bright X-ray radiation have been removed - looks unchanged no matter where you look. However, we found a regularly repeating signal that cannot be explained using conventional physics. The properties of this signal make it possible to speak about the discovery of axions.
- Andy Read, University of Leicester
To emit in the X-ray range axions forced, according to researchers, a collision with the magnetic field of the Earth. "It looks like axions are really born in the center of the Sun and really turn into X-rays, falling into the magnetic field of our planet," - says the preprint of the article by scientists, published on the website Arxiv.org.
Even the president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain, Martin Barstow, commented on the discovery.
This startling discovery could be a real breakthrough that could potentially pave the way for new physics. This is of great importance not only for our understanding of the real picture of cosmic X-ray radiation, but also for the identification of dark matter.
- Martin Barstow, University of Leicester