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New Analysis Shows Mysterious Dark Matter At Milky Way's Center

Update Date: Apr 07, 2014 01:24 PM EDT
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Physicists probably have the best lead till date about the nature of dark matter - the strange and invisible stuff that dominates the material universe. 

The center of Milky Way galaxy generates more high-energy gamma rays than can be explained by conventional sources for example supernova remnants and pulsars, according to a new study.

The "excess" might be the result of annihilation of colliding dark matter particles. 

"This is a very exciting signal, and while the case is not yet closed, in the future we might well look back and say this was where we saw dark matter annihilation for the first time," co-author Tracy Slatyer, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, said in a statement, according to space.com.

Dark matter is thought to make up more than 80 percent of the matter in the universe. It neither absorbs light nor emits light which makes it go undetected from telescopes. However its gravity certainly affects "normals" stuff we can see and touch. 

"The new maps allow us to analyze the excess and test whether more conventional explanations, such as the presence of undiscovered pulsars or cosmic-ray collisions on gas clouds, can account for it," said lead author Dan Hooper, an astrophysicist at Fermilab, according to space.com. "The signal we find cannot be explained by currently proposed alternatives and is in close agreement with the predictions of very simple dark matter models."

Researchers added that the excess can be explained by annihilations of dark matter particles with a mass between 31 and 40 billion electron volts.

"Dark matter in this mass range can be probed by direct detection and by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), so if this is dark matter, we're already learning about its interactions from the lack of detection so far," Slatyer added.

Researchers have submitted their research to the journal Physical Review D.

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