Astronomers found a mysterious source of gamma rays at the core of a newly found dwarf galaxy that may signal the presence of the controversial dark matter. The team is very thrilled with the discovery since it is the first time dark matter may be detected without taking into account the gravitational pull theory.
Dark matter is a very elusive element of our universe since it neither emits nor absorbs light. So, virtually it is impossible to be caught with a space telescope, or any other optical instruments. Dark matter theorists claim that dark matter although invisible does exist because in its absence a lot of cosmic phenomenon couldn’t be explained.
To this day, scientists believe that dark matter, which is considered to account for more than 80 percent of the cosmic matter, is present wherever unexplainable gravitational effects on the visible matter are observed. For instance, astrophysicists claim that dark matter triggers the rotation of galaxies and the variations in the cosmic microwave background.
However, this new discovery may point to the presence of the mysterious matter in a different way – through the radiation it emits.
“Something in the direction of this dwarf galaxy is emitting gamma rays. There’s no conventional reason this galaxy should be giving off gamma rays, so it’s potentially a signal for dark matter,”
argued Alex Geringer-Sameth, lead-author of the finding and postdoctoral researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Physics.
The dwarf galaxy under scrutiny is called Reticulum 2, and it is located relatively close to our planet at about 98,000 light-years away. Scientists discovered it over the past few weeks when they were sifting through the data gathered by an experiment designed to map the southern sky in an attempt to better understand how the universe expands.
During their research, the team of astronomers found an excessive amount of gamma rays originating from Reticulum 2’s center. Savvas Koushiappas, co-author of the discovery and physics professor at Brown University, said that gamma radiation in a dwarf galaxy is a certain marker of dark matter.
In larger galaxies, Prof Koushiappas explained, the gamma radiation can have variable sources such as supermassive black holes, pulsars or quasars, but a dwarf galaxy is a “very clean and quiet system.” So, the only source of such radiation may be dark matter, the researcher argued.
The team published their findings in the journal Physical Review Letters, but they acknowledged that they needed to perform more research in order to say for sure that they have detected dark matter within a dwarf galaxy.
Image Source: Space Ref