by Mitch Battros – Earth Changes Media Gamma-ray photons seen emanating from the center of the Milky Way galaxy are consistent with the intriguing possibility that dark-matter particles are annihilating each other in space, according to research submitted by UC Irvine astrophysicists to the American Physical Society journal ‘Physical Review’.
The research team found more gamma-ray photons coming from the Milky Way galactic center than they had expected, based on previous scientific models. Gamma-rays are electromagnetic radiation emitted during radioactive decay or other high-energy particle processes.
Kevork Abazajian, assistant professor, and Manoj Kaplinghat, associate professor, of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at University of California – analyzed data collected between August 2008 and June 2012 from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope orbiting Earth.
“This is the first time this new source has been observedwith such high statistical significance, and the most striking part is how the shape, spectrum and rate of the observed gamma rays are very consistent with the leading theories fordark matter,” Abazajian said. “Future observations of regions with less astrophysical emission, such as dwarf galaxies, we will be able to conclusively determine if this is actually from dark matter.”
Non-luminous and not directly detectable, dark matter is thought to account for 85 percent of the universe’s mass. Its existence can only be inferred from its gravitational effects on other ‘visible matter’. The UCI researchers’ findings could support its presumed presence at the center of galaxies.
The prevailing hypothesis is that dark matter is composedof weak interacting massive particles. When two interacting massive particles meet, they annihilate each other to produce more familiar particles – including gamma rays.
What appears to be a new unknown source of charged particles – is also consistent with the spectrum signal of pulsars and other high energy particles interacting with gas in the galactic center. More studies are needed to determine what the source is and what are its possible outcomes.
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