Possible dark matter signal detected from Milky Way halo

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.

Artist’s illustration of Milky Way’s halo. Courtesy of NASA’s Chandra Xray Observatory and Harvard University.

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.

Stay tuned!


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One Response to Possible dark matter signal detected from Milky Way halo

  1. Gregg Filler says:

    Great article. Every step brings us closer to understanding and verifying dark matter. Vera Rubin, a woman, was one of the most important astronomers of the 20th century, and played a seminal role in confirming the existence of dark matter in the 1960’s.

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