Cosmology

Dark matter may yield x-ray glow nearby

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Science  21 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6212, pp. 961
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6212.961-e
PHOTO: NASA/SDO

Dark matter often has been observed to influence the dynamics of galaxies. Still, astrophysicists have great difficulty demonstrating the presence of dark matter with some type of direct detection. Now, observations made by the European XMM-Newton satellite of what should be blank sky instead show a variable background x-ray signal that could result from axions, a proposed component of dark matter. Fraser et al. explain that these candidate particles—a billionth the mass of an electron—could be produced by the Sun and then converted into x-rays by Earth's magnetic field. This step toward understanding dark matter still may be supported or refuted by further x-ray measurements with other observatories.

Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc. 10.1093/mnras/stu1865 (2014).

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