Mysterious Dark Matter Might Actually Glow

By | November 9, 2008

2008_11_05t130258_450x448_us_space_darkmatterNobody knows what dark matter is, but scientists may now have a clue where to look for it.

The strange stuff makes up about 85 percent of the heft of the universe. It’s invisible, but researchers know it’s there because there is not enough regular matter — stars and planets and gas and dust — to hold galaxies and galaxy clusters together. Some other unseen material, dubbed dark matter, must be gluing things together.

So how to find that which you cannot see?

A new computer simulation of the evolution of a galaxy like our Milky Way suggests it might be possible to observe high-energy gamma-rays given off by dark matter.

“These calculations finally allow us to ‘see’ what the dark matter distribution should look like near the Sun where we might stand a chance of detecting it,” said Simon White, director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.

White is part of the international Virgo Consortium, a team of scientists including cosmologists at Durham University. Their findings are detailed in the Nov. 6 issue of the journal Nature.

Past studies have indicated that dark matter was crucial in the formation of galaxies, and that the mystery material still hangs around in halos that surround galaxies. The new simulation examined how these dark matter halos might evolve and behave. – yahoo

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