Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Giant Simulation Could Solve Mystery Of 'Dark Matter'

Date:
November 6, 2008
Source:
Durham University
Summary:
The search for a mysterious substance which makes up most of the universe could soon be at an end, according to new research.

A map of the dark matter in six halos similar to that of the Milky Way. The brighter colours correspond to regions of higher density and indicate where most of the gamma rays are expected to be produced.
Credit: Image courtesy of Durham University

The search for a mysterious substance which makes up most of the Universe could soon be at an end, according to new research.

Related Articles


Dark matter is believed to account for 85 per cent of the Universe's mass but has remained invisible to telescopes since scientists inferred its existence from its gravitational effects more than 75 years ago.

Now the international Virgo Consortium, a team of scientists including cosmologists at Durham University, has used a massive computer simulation showing the evolution of a galaxy like the Milky Way to "see" gamma-rays given off by dark matter.

They say their findings, published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature (Thursday, November 6), could help NASA's Fermi Telescope in its search for the dark matter and open a new chapter in our understanding of the Universe.

The Virgo Consortium looked at dark matter halos – structures surrounding galaxies – which contain a trillion times the mass of the Sun.

Their simulations – called The Aquarius Project - showed how the galaxy's halo grew through a series of violent collisions and mergers between much smaller clumps of dark matter that emerged from the Big Bang.

The researchers found that gamma-rays produced when particles collided in areas of high dark matter density could be most easily detectable in regions of the Milky Way lying close to the Sun in the general direction of the galaxy's centre.

They suggest the Fermi Telescope should search in this part of the galaxy where they predict that gamma-rays from dark matter should glow in "a smoothly varying and characteristic pattern".

If Fermi does detect the predicted emission from the Milky Way's smooth inner halo the Virgo team believes it might be able to see otherwise invisible clumps of dark matter lying very close to the Sun.

The Virgo research involved scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany, The Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University, UK, the University of Victoria in Canada, the University of Massachusetts, USA, and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Professor Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, at Durham University, said: "Solving the dark matter riddle will be one of the greatest scientific achievements of our time.

"The search for dark matter has dominated cosmology for many decades. It may soon come to an end."

Professor Simon White, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, said: "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."

Dr Volker Springel, of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, led the computer simulations which took 3.5 million processor hours to complete.

Dr Springel said: "This calculation has redefined the state of the art in cosmological simulations. At times I thought it would never end."

The research was funded by the Max Planck Society, the Bavarian Computing Centre, a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Durham University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Springel, S.D.M. White, C. S. Frenk, et al. Prospects for detecting supersymmetric dark matter in the Galactic halo. Nature, 2008; 456 (7218): 73-76

Cite This Page:

Durham University. "Giant Simulation Could Solve Mystery Of 'Dark Matter'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081105135117.htm>.
Durham University. (2008, November 6). Giant Simulation Could Solve Mystery Of 'Dark Matter'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081105135117.htm
Durham University. "Giant Simulation Could Solve Mystery Of 'Dark Matter'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081105135117.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) Lunar Mission One is offering to send your digital memory (or even your DNA) to the moon to be stored for a billion years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) Serious accidents with two US commercial spacecraft within a week of each-other in October have re-ignited the debate over the place of private corporations in the exploration of space. Duration: 02:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A British-led venture called Lunar Mission One plans to send a module to the moon with keepsakes from Earth. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) tells you how to get your photos and DNA onboard. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins