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A & # 39; hurricane of dark matter & # 39; in space will be approaching us



According to a recent newspaper, Earth is caught directly in the crosshair of a cosmic hurricane.

A swarm of nearly 100 stars, accompanied by an even greater amount of dark matter, is aimed directly at our star quarters and we can not help it; In fact, the avant-garde is already on us. That sounds like a perfect summer blockbuster movie with The Rock and Chris Pratt or maybe Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron.

Except that this is for real. But is that a danger? Actually no. Not at all. But it may be incredibly fascinating with many interesting scientific connections. So what's really going on?

The story begins last April when the Gaia satellite announced the locations and trajectories of 2 billion stars near the Milky Way that surrounds our Sun. They published the data for the public.

Scientists could then view the dataset to see if they could discover something special. In galaxies like the Milky Way galaxy, the most common behavior is that the stars orbit the center of the galaxy in much the same way as the planet orbiting our sun. However, there are some stars that show unusual movements. About a year ago, astronomers identified some "star streams" flowing through our heavenly neighborhood.

One of them, called S1

(for stream 1), consists of nearly 100 stars of similar age and composition that orbit the Milky Way in an orbit exactly opposite to normal stars. It's like a handful of cars driving the wrong way along the highway, unless they're much farther apart and there's no chance of a collision. These stars extend over a few thousand light-years and will go through the neighborhood of the solar system for several million years.

The astronomers identified S1 as part of the remnants of a dwarf galaxy that collided with the Milky Way and was consumed in an epic episode of cosmic cannibalism. Dwarf galaxies are very small, typically about 1% of the mass of the Milky Way. You can orbit larger galaxies, collide with the larger galaxy, and add their mass to your parents. This seems to have happened in the case of S1, although the process probably took a billion years.

Dwarf galaxies often have a disproportionate amount of dark matter. Dark matter is a hypothetical and as yet undiscovered form of matter that only interacts gravitationally. Scientists have suggested its existence to explain many astronomical mysteries, such as the observation that most galaxies rotate faster than can be explained by the known laws of physics and the stars and the gas that make them up.

Dark Matter Does not Have It It has been observed that the hypothesis of its existence is the simplest and most economical explanation for countless astronomical mysteries. Averaged over the entire universe, it is believed that dark matter is five times more abundant than the ordinary mass of stars, gas, and planets.

In dwarf galaxies, the proportion of dark matter is often higher. In Fornax, a well-studied dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way, researchers estimate that dark matter is between 10 and 100 times larger than the mass of its stars.

If this number holds for S1, the Dark Matter is The S1 current travels the earth at a much higher velocity than the ordinary dark matter orbiting the Milky Way – about twice as fast. It is believed that dark matter S1 flies through the solar system at a speed of about 550 km / s. These numbers are impressive but misleading. Dark matter, if it exists, is extremely diffuse and has no discernable effects on the solar system.

Since dark matter has not been observed yet, these velocity numbers are speculative, though they are supported by a very large amount of evidence. However, the prospect of high-speed dark matter flying through the earth has given rise to their discovery.

In an article in the prestigious journal Physical Review D, researcher Ciaran O & Hare and his collaborators calculated the possibilities of detecting dark matter using both existing and proposed dark matter detectors. They considered two types of dark matter particles: a very heavy type called WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle), and a very light type called an axion. Since the ultimate nature of dark matter is unknown, it is important to be open to all possibilities.

They found that the detectors they evaluated could find WIMPs for certain areas of particle mass. However, when they examined the possibility of axion, the prospects were even better. Due to its light mass and the way in which an axion would interact with the detector, the device simply has a better chance of seeing the axion. (If there are axions, of course.)

Experiments with names like ADMX, MADMAX, and ABRACADABRA are able to look for the dark matter signatures proposed in the current release. They are made up of technologies designed to interact with axions in a strong magnetic field and convert them into ordinary microwave or radio waves that are easily detected.

It is important to know that the S1 stream is not a credible threat to the earth and does not represent humanity. An action hero does not need to save us. However, the synergies of science are amazing. A careful catalog of nearby stars has opened up the prospect of a better way to find and identify dark matter, which is one of the great, unanswered secrets of modern physics. It is an amazing time in which we live, in which we can study such things.


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