NASA astronomers have detected a mysterious X-ray signal coming from the Perseus Cluster, which is estimated to be 240 million light years away. One light year means 5878625541248 miles. Scientists say it could be a signal of the dark matter, the invisible, mysterious stuff that makes up about 85% of the material universe. Nobody so far has succeeded in detecting the dark matter yet.
NASA scientists still trying to figure out the source of X-ray signals
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM Newton satellite observed a spike of X-ray emission that came from about 70 different galaxy clusters. Source of these X-rays remains unclear, but scientists believe that they could have been generated by the decay of a dark matter particle.
Lead researcher Esra Bulbul of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said they are currently working to find confirmation to this interpretation. Space agencies have poured in billions of dollars to run experiments for decades in an attempt to find the details of the elusive dark matter. Over the past several decades, scientists have proposed various exotic particles as potential components of the dark matter, such as axions, sterile neutrinos, and weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs).
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NASA scientists went through 10 years of observations to find this signal
Researchers said that the signals detected by Chandra and XMM-Newton came due to the decay of sterile neutrinos. But nothing can be said for sure. They think that normal matter in galaxy clusters could also be the cause of the emission. But this interpretation doesn’t fit well with the atomic physics of hot gases and current thinking about galaxy clusters.
Dark matter neither emits nor absorbs light. So, it’s impossible for scientists to observe it directly. But it does exist because the dark matter interacts gravitationally with the normal matter that you can touch and see. To find this signal, astronomers led by Esra Bulbul went through observations of the Perseus Cluster with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton over ten years.