Astronomers have created a new technology to help search for dark matter

Astronomers have created a new technology to help search for dark matter

Radar detected atmospheric ionization of meteors (and DM) for a simplified antenna setup. Here θ is the peak angle, h is the height, and ~z is the incoming path. Head echo radar systems detect an approximately spherical ionization front around the moving object, while track echo radar systems detect its ionization path. The red gradient shows the Gaussian electron density profile, which determines the type of scattering (low intensity if radio waves penetrate the ionization profile, increased intensity otherwise). Credit: Pawan Dhakal et al

Meteorites may help astronomers devise a new way to locate dark matter – a mysterious and invisible particle that has hitherto been distinguished only by its influence on the natural world.

Dark matter is five times more diffuse than ordinary matter, and makes up about 85% of the universe’s total mass, and about a quarter (26.8%) of the universe’s total mass and energy. Humans are incapable of detecting this elusiveness grains Directly, as dark matter does not emit any light, so scientists use powerful instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope or NASA’s Roman Nancy Grace Space Telescope to watch its effect on galaxies and other distant star clusters.

Now, according to a study led by researchers at Ohio State University, radar systems On the ground to help search.

While scientists typically search only for small particles of dark matter with small masses, the goal of this new research is to improve the research by helping to characterize macroscopic dark matter: particles with small Large mass may not reach traditional ground detectors.

“One of the reasons dark matter is so difficult to detect may be that the particles are so massive,” Becom said. “If the mass of dark matter is small, then particles are common, if the mass is large, then particles are rare.”

Although these particles cannot be touched or seen, dark matter can be perceived through gravitational effects on other celestial phenomena, such as stars or black holes.

While it is not easy to categorize its effects on other natural systems, spending time learning more about dark matter opens new avenues for scientists to understand the size, shape, and future of the universe. Such discoveries could also reveal the mass of these particles – which, depending on their size, can have huge effects on the formation and structure of galaxies.

The research is currently published on the open access prepress server, arXiv.

What makes the research so new is that scientists applied the same technology used to track meteors as they fly across the sky. When passing through Earth’s atmosphere, both meteorites and dark matter particles produce ionization deposits – a form of radiation that is left behind. free electrons, atoms capable of conducting electricity. Electromagnetic waves from the radar bounce off the free electrons, indicating the presence of other mundane matter, which can then be used to distinguish dark matter from meteors. In this way, the entire planet’s atmosphere can be turned into a single efficient and large-scale particle detector.

Although scientists have used this method of searching for meteorites for decades, Beacom said he was surprised that no one had applied these systems, or previously collected data, in their search for dark matter.

One of the study’s most important conclusions is how the team’s new method can complement other cosmological searches for dark matter, as their system provides a level of precision and sensitivity that many other techniques lack.

“Current cosmology techniques are very sensitive, but they have no way of verifying their work,” Beacom said. “This is a completely new technology, so if scientists are not sure what they’ve discovered, a signal from cosmology can be checked in detail using radar technology.”

Co-authors are Pawan Dhakal, Stephen Prohera and Christopher Cabello from Ohio State, as well as Scott Ballou and John Marino from the University of Colorado Boulder.

3 facts and 3 unknowns about dark matter

more information:
Pawan Dhakal and others New Constraints on Macroscopic Dark Matter Using Radar Meteor Detectors (2022).

Introduction of
Ohio State University

the quote: Astronomers Create New Technology to Help Search for Dark Matter (2022, Oct 18) Retrieved Oct 19, 2022 from

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