Dark matter. It’s never been detected. And what it is, exactly, nobody knows. Yet this mysterious, non-luminous substance makes up most of the matter in the universe. Evidence of dark matter’s decay, however, may have been spotted.
A team of astrophysicists working at NASA’s Chandra Xray Observatory have observed a 3.5 kiloelectronvolts X-ray signal. This corresponds to the calculated emission of a decayed sterile neutrino, a theorized particle of dark matter. The signal was observed in our galaxy’s halo, a spherical orb of matter encircling the galactic disc, where, it is believed, much of dark matter exists.
The team posted their findings on line Jan. 30, and believe they have accounted for any extraneous “noise” that might be responsible for the signal. The study has yet to be peer-reviewed.
If the study is published, it will be added to similar signal detections which have been picked up recently from the Milky Way’s center and clusters of other galaxies. The search for finding dark matter could be closing in.