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A “dark matter hurricane” in space is on its way

According to a recently published paper, the earth is captured directly in a cosmic hurricane's intersection. A swarm of almost…

According to a recently published paper, the earth is captured directly in a cosmic hurricane’s intersection.

A swarm of almost 100 stars, accompanied by an even greater amount of dark matter, directs directly to our stellar neighborhood and there is nothing we can do to stop it. In fact, the advance is already on us. This sounds like a perfect summer blow film with the starring The Rock and Chris Pratt, or maybe Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron.

Beside this is too true. But is it a danger? Well, actually no. Not at all. But it’s potentially incredibly fascinating, with lots of interesting scientific connections. So, what’s really happening?

The story begins in April, when the Gaia satellite announced the sites and courses of 2 billion stars near the Milky Way around our sun. They released the information to the public.

Researchers could then look at the dataset to see if they could see anything strange. In galaxies like the Milky Way, the most common behavior is that the stars circle the center of the galaxy in a manner similar to the planets surrounding our sun. However, there are some stars that show unusual movement. About a year ago, astronomers identified some “starstreams” passing through our heavenly neighborhood.

One of them, called S1

(for power 1), consists of almost 100 stars of the same age and composition that circle the Milky Way in one direction, exactly opposite to normal stars. It’s like a handful of cars driving the wrong way down the highway, except with a much greater distance between them and without the likelihood of a collision. These stars are spread over a few thousand light years and they will pass through the solar system’s neighborhood for a few billion years.

Astronomers identified S1 as part of the remains of a dwarf galaxy that collided with the Milky Way and consumed in an epic episode of cosmic cannibalism. Dwarf galaxies are very small, usually about 1% of the mass of the liquid. They can wander bigger galaxies and collide with the bigger galaxy and put the mass to the parent. This seems to have happened in the case of S1, although the process has taken a billion years.

Dwarf axes often have a disproportionately large fraction of dark matter. Dark matter is a hypothetical and still undiscovered form of matter that only co-operates gravity. Researchers have proposed their existence to explain many astronomical mysteries, such as the observation that most galaxies rotate faster than can be explained by physical known laws and the stars and the gas to which they are composed.

While dark matter has not yet been observed, hypotheses its existence is the simplest and most economical explanation for myriad astronomical mysteries. On average, throughout the universe, dark matter is considered five times more common than the usual mass of stars and gas and planets.

In dwarf galaxies, the fraction of dark matter is often higher. In Fornax, researchers estimate that the dark material is between 10 and 100 times larger than the mass found in its stars.

If this number holds for S1, the dark matter of the S1 current passes through the ground at a much higher rate than the more common dark matter that circles the Winter Street – about twice as fast. It is believed that S1 dark matter is flying through the solar system at a speed of approximately 550 km / s, or about 1.2 million mph. While these numbers are impressive, they are misleading. Dark matter, if it exists, is extremely diffuse and it will not have any noticeable effect on the solar system.

Since dark matter has not been observed yet, these speed numbers are speculative, although strongly supported by very large evidence. The prospect of high speed dark matter flying through the earth has suggested an opportunity to detect it.

In a magazine in the prestigious journal Physical Review D, the researcher Ciaran O & Hare and his coworker calculated the ability to detect dark matter using both existing and proposed dark material detectors. They considered two varieties of dark matter particles: a very heavy type called a WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle) and a very light black called axion. Because the ultimate nature of dark matter is not known, it is important to be open to all possibilities.

They found that the detectors as they evaluated could find WIMPs for certain areas of the particle mass. But when they looked at the axion opportunity, the outlook was even better. Because of its light weight and the way an axion interacts with the detector, the device simply has a better chance of seeing the axion. (If axions exist, understand.)

Experiments with names like ADMX, MADMAX and ABRACADABRA can or may search for dark matter signatures proposed in the past. They consist of technologies designed to interact with axions in a strong magnetic field and transform them into common microwaves or radio waves that can easily be detected.

It is important to remember that the S1 stream does not represent a credible threat to the earth and humanity. There is no need for a hero to save us. But the synergy of science is dizzying. A careful directory of nearby stars has opened the prospect of a better opportunity to find and identify dark matter, which is one of the major unanswered mysteries of modern physics. It’s a great time we live in, where we can study such things.

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Faela