Glimmer of light in the search for dark matter

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.

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. Via Glimmer of light in the search for dark matter.

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