Scientists have been trying to figure out the secret behind dark matter for nearly a century now, and a team of astronomers in Europe may have finally begun to crack the code. Dark matter takes up roughly 84% of every piece of matter that exists in the entire universe. However, up until this week, scientists have only been able to guess about its presence by how it interacts with the various structures in space. Now though, the team has detected X-ray emissions that threw a red flag to scientists.
The emissions that were found were nothing like they had previously ever seen. They didn’t stand in correlation with any object, any star, any gas cloud – nothing. Even more impressively, the team of astronomers are relatively sure that what they were looking at, or hearing – was actually dark matter. The detection came from the Andromeda galaxy, as well as the Perseus galaxy cluster.
This find though, isn’t just significant in actually detecting dark matter for the first time in the history of astronomy. The significance actually stems around determining what dark matter is physically comprised of. Determining what dark matter is made of would be the biggest discovery in science in the last 100 years.
Even just this discovery will lead to developments in the astronomy and science communities. Dr. Alexey Boyarsky of Leiden University’s Laboratory of Particle Physics and Astrophysics in the Netherlands pointed out that the detection of the sound that the team believe is dark matter “may lead to construction of new-telescopes specially designed for studying the signals form dark-matter particles.”
Next week when the details of this study are published in the journal Physical Review Letters it will begin to set the course of what the next several years in the space community will look like. The mission for astronomers and other scientists to really start to unravel the mystery that is dark matter will begin, and at the end of that road – one of the greatest mysteries the universe has to offer could finally be solved. The results of this study will have profound long term impacts.