Scientists have long theorized about the existence of dark matter. Now, they may finally have hard evidence of its existence.
Discovery News reported that data from the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton spacecraft has scientists excited about dark matter. The discovery of two separate signals, one from the Andromeda galaxy and one from the Perseus galaxy cluster may indeed provide the kind of proof scientists have sought for so long.
Scientists have not been able to link the signals to any known particle or atom, leading them to believe the signals may be produced by dark matter. Oleg Ruchayskiy from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland commented on the possible link.
"The signal's distribution within the galaxy corresponds exactly to what we were expecting with dark materthat is, concentrated and intense in the center of objects and weaker and diffuse on the edges."
Dr. Alexey Boyarsky, professor of physics at Leiden University in the Netherlands, told the Huffington Post that the signal has passed several tests for dark matter. He also thinks the discovery could open new doors for scientific research.
"This tiny (several hundred extra photons) excess has been interpreted as originating from very rare decays of dark matter particles. Although the signal is very weak, it has passed several 'sanity checks' that one expects from a decaying dark matter signal…Confirmation of this discovery may lead to construction of new telescopes specially designed for studying the signals from dark matter particles. We will know where to look in order to and will be able to reconstruct how the Universe has formed."
Scientists on the XMM-Newton team are expected to finalize their study and publish results next week. The team feels they could be on the doorstep of a new era in astronomy.
[Photo Courtesy of Discovery]