Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Glimmer of light in the search for dark matter

Date:
February 26, 2014
Source:
Universiteit Leiden
Summary:
Astrophysicists may have identified a trace of dark matter that could signify a new particle: the sterile neutrino. Another research group reported a very similar signal just a few days before.

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows NGC 1275, the galaxy located in the center of the Perseus Galaxy Cluster. The red threadlike filaments are composed of cool gas suspended by a magnetic field.
Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration)

The Leiden astrophysicist Alexey Boyarsky and his fellow researchers may have identified a trace of dark matter that could signify a new particle: the sterile neutrino. A research group in Harvard reported a very similar signal just a few days earlier.

Sterile neutrino has mass

The two groups this week reported that they have found an indirect signal from dark matter in the spectra of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. They made this discovery independent of one another, but came to the same conclusion: a tiny spike is hidden in the X-ray spectra of the Perseus galaxy cluster, at a frequency that cannot be explained by any known atomic transition.

The Harvard group see the same spike in many other galaxy clusters, while Boyarsky also finds it in the nearby Andromeda galaxy.

The researchers put it down to the decay of a new kind of neutrino, called 'sterile' because it has no interaction with other known neutrinos. A sterile neutrino does have mass, and so could be responsible for the missing dark matter.

Minor expansion of the standard model for elementary particles

The first indications for the existence of dark matter in space were found more than eighty years ago, but there are still many questions surrounding this invisible matter. Sterile neutrinos are a highly attractive candidate for the dark matter particle, because they only call for a minor extension of the already known and extensively tested standard model for elementary particles.

Boyarsky and his colleagues have already had this extension of the standard model ready for some time, but were waiting for the first observation of the mysterious particle. Measurements at higher resolution will shed light on the matter, and there is reason to hope that the spectral line just discovered will finally eliminate the problem of the missing mass.


Story Source:

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


Journal References:

  1. Alexey Boyarsky, Oleg Ruchayskiy, Dmytro Iakubovskyi, Jeroen Franse. An unidentified line in X-ray spectra of the Andromeda galaxy and Perseus galaxy cluster. Submitted to arXiv, 2014 [link]
  2. Esra Bulbul, Maxim Markevitch, Adam Foster, Randall K. Smith, Michael Loewenstein, Scott W. Randall. Detection of An Unidentified Emission Line in the Stacked X-ray spectrum of Galaxy Clusters. Astrophysical Journal, 2014 (submitted); [link]

Cite This Page:

Universiteit Leiden. "Glimmer of light in the search for dark matter." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226074829.htm>.
Universiteit Leiden. (2014, February 26). Glimmer of light in the search for dark matter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226074829.htm
Universiteit Leiden. "Glimmer of light in the search for dark matter." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140226074829.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

How A Solar Flare Could Have Wrecked Earth's Electronics

Newsy (July 25, 2014) Researchers say if Earth had been a week earlier in its orbit around the sun, it would have taken a direct hit from a 2012 coronal mass ejection. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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