Hints of lightweight dark matter get even stronger
A strange light is shining near the centre of the Milky Way, and evidence is mounting that it is the spark of lightweight dark matter meeting a violent end. At the same time, a suite of sensitive detectors deep underground is seeing hints of similar particles.
Dark matter is thought to make up roughly 80 per cent of the matter in the universe. But aside from its gravitational tug on regular matter, the substance has proven tough to detect, and many of its fundamental properties remain unknown.
The leading theoretical candidates for dark matter are weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). It’s thought these particles annihilate when they meet, producing a shower of radiation, including gamma rays. Launched in 2008, NASA’s Fermi space telescope has been scanning for excess gamma rays emanating from the centre of our galaxy, where dark matter should be concentrated.
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