In a groundbreaking discovery, scientists may have found evidence of dark matter surrounding black holes. If confirmed, this discovery could revolutionize our understanding of the universe and shed light on the mysteries of dark matter.
Dark matter makes up a whopping 85% of all matter in the universe, yet it’s almost invisible to astronomers. Unlike regular matter that we can see and interact with, dark matter doesn’t interact with light and is thus almost impossible to observe.
However, scientists have found a new way to study dark matter by observing its gravitational effects on ordinary matter. In a recent study, a team of researchers from The Education University of Hong Kong used stars orbiting black holes as “proxies” to indirectly detect dark matter.
The team observed the orbits of two stars, designated A0620–00 and XTE J1118+480, as they moved around their companion black holes. They noticed a slight slowing down of the stars’ orbits, which they attributed to the presence of dark matter. By applying computer simulations of the black hole systems, the team confirmed that the observed rate of orbital decay matched the predictions of the dark matter dynamical friction model.
This discovery confirms a long-held theory that black holes can swallow dark matter, which is then redistributed around them, creating a “density spike” that affects the orbits of surrounding objects. This new way of studying dark matter may lead to more proactive searches for black hole binary systems in the future.
This discovery is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the universe and opens up new avenues of research into dark matter. The EdUHK team intends to hunt for similar black hole binary systems to study in the future. Who knows what other secrets about the universe we may uncover with this new knowledge?
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