Space & Astronomy
Mysterious signal detected in Perseus Cluster
By T.K. Randall
June 26, 2014 · 9 comments
Could the signal be evidence of dark matter ? Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
Originating 240 million light years away, the signal could be the best evidence yet of dark matter.
The concept of dark matter was devised as a way to account for the missing mass in the universe that can be inferred to exist through observations of the properties and motions of other astronomical bodies but that cannot be directly detected.
Believed to make up 84.5% of the matter in the universe, the nature of dark matter still remains something of a mystery despite extensive efforts by scientists to prove that it exists.
The newly detected signal, described as a "spike of intensity at a very specific wavelength of x-ray light", is thought to come from the decay of a theoretical particle called a "sterile neutrino" which interacts with normal matter through gravity.
If this turns out to be correct then it could account for at least some of the dark matter in the universe and in so doing help scientists to put together one more piece of the puzzle in understanding the structure and composition of the cosmos.
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