The universe is comprised of a large amount of invisible matter, dark matter. It fills the space between the galaxies and between the stars in the galaxies. Since the prediction of the existence of dark matter more than 70 years ago, all sorts of researchers – astronomers, cosmologists and particle physicists have been looking for answers to what it could be. With the latest observations from the Planck satellite, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, may be closer than ever to a solution to the origin of the mysterious dark matter.
“The Planck Satellite has observed a very unique emission of radio radiation from the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. By using different methods to separate the signal for very broad range of wavelengths, the Planck team has been able to determine the spectrum of the radiation. The radiation has a spectrum which has the same form as that of synchrotron emission, which originates from electrons and positrons circulating at high energies around the lines of the Magnetic Field in the centre of the galaxy, and I believe that there are quite strong indications that it could come from dark matter,” explains Pavel Naselsky, professor of cosmology at the Discovery Center at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.
Pavel Naselsky explains that leading scientists like Niels Bohr professor Subir Sarkar have predicted, using calculations, that dark matter may consist of very heavy particles that are around 10 times as heavy as the Higgs particle, that is to say, 1,000 times heavier than a proton. But they have very unique properties and do not interact with ‘normal’ matter particles. Dark matter particles are also usually very scattered and do not interact with each other.
“The radiation cannot be explained by the structural mechanisms in the galaxy and it cannot be radiation from supernova explosions. I believe that this could be proof of dark matter. Otherwise, we have discovered absolutely new (and unknown for physics) mechanism of acceleration of particles in the Galactic centre”, says Pavel Naselsky, and he expects exciting new results already within the next few months.