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X-rays From Other Galaxies Could Emanate From Particles of Dark Matter 91

sciencehabit writes "X-rays of a specific wavelength emanating from the hearts of nearby galaxies and galaxy clusters could be signs of particles of dark matter decaying in space, two independent teams of astronomers report (first study, second study). If that interpretation is correct, then dark matter could consist of strange particles called sterile neutrinos that weigh about 1/100 as much as an electron."
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X-rays From Other Galaxies Could Emanate From Particles of Dark Matter

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  • I can't wait until the entire English vocabulary has a different meaning in subatomic physics. Things were better when the names were made-up.

    Well, now on topic, we'd expect that any dark matter candidate is barely there at all, wouldn't we? The only problem (for me, certainly, no the theory) is that I don't understand how something with only 7kEv * c^2 of mass won't be seen already. Even if it shares no property with normal matter, I'd expect it to appear from bare energy + momentum available at accelerators*... Or are people just classifying them as normal neutrinos?

    * I mean, would it be 10^-29 times as probable as a normal neutrino? Even if so, wouldn't people have seen a bunch of them?

  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @11:44PM (#46379347)

    Most science fiction sounds plausible, that is why we enjoy it. We have no proof dark matter or dark energy exists, so claiming side effects is pretty stupid. Sure, it is possible but it is equally not possie. A whole segment of theoretical physicists has been working on equations that don't require dark matter or energy with promising results so far.

    And just as fast as those physicists have come up with those equations, they have been ruled out. Currently, none of the equations explain the phenomenon better than dark matter (and they're often much much worse []). It's not equally as possible that dark matter exists as that it doesn't: the current evidence points to dark matter being more likely to exist than not. Tweaking equations and throwing in correction terms to force the model to fit the observations is usually a bad approach in physics (or science in general).

    BTW, looking for side-effects that would result if dark matter does exist is, far from being stupid, a decent method of indirectly confirming the existence of dark matter in the first place (since observing dark matter directly is really, really hard, perhaps even impossible).

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @08:29AM (#46380587)
    Dark matter just means stuff we know is there from gravity effects but can't actually see.
    It's like having someone step on your foot in a dark room - you know somebody or something else is in there but you only know from one limited sense.

    As for phlogiston - damn good idea to explain some reactions if you don't know there is more than one type of gas and it was associated with some useful empirical equations. Oxidation of iron didn't fit. Not long after oxygen was discovered. Phlogiston was science in action - put up an idea - test it - find where it doesn't work and then you can find another fit.

    the startling number of planets that are *not* in orbit around a sun

    Nowhere near the same thing. We can see those with light and radio waves from the stuff behind them.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman