How Neutron Stars Could Unveil the Secrets of Dark Matter

By , in News Sci/Tech on . Tagged width: , ,

Dark matter is easily one of the most mysterious structures in the Universe. Scientists know for sure that dark matter is out there, but they don’t have any idea what exactly is it. Furthermore, as if nature itself wants to show us even more how frail and unknowing we humans are, about 85% of all the ‘stuff’ that fills the Universe is dark matter.

Regular matter, the one we interact with every day and composed of atoms and molecules, is only about 5% of the Universe’s total mass. While each and every one of us is living proof that the Universe contains matter made of atoms and molecules, what exactly could dark matter be?

Axions are likely causing high-energy X-ray emissions from neutron stars

As writes, a new study of theoretical physicists led by Benjamin Safdi from Berkeley Lab Physics Division reveals that axions (a hypothetical elementary particle and also one of the top candidates for dark matter) could cause high-energy X-ray emissions that emanate from some neutron stars.

The neutron stars in question are the so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’, as they present a promising way for testing the presence of the theorized particles.

The lead author of the study, Mr. Safdi, declared:

We are pretty confident this excess exists, and very confident there’s something new among this excess,

If we were 100% sure that what we are seeing is a new particle, that would be huge. That would be revolutionary in physics.

Although the seven peculiar neutron stars weren’t classified as pulsars, they are creating an unexplained amount of X-ray emissions. The team of physicists behind the study claim that if the neutron stars were pulsars, other signals would have drowned out the X-ray emissions. But instead, the excess of X-ray signals are puzzling scientists. Therefore, Safdi and his colleagues are saying that there might be another explanation that cannot be accounted for using the existing methods.

The study was published here.