Back to Top
astrodidact:

astrodidact:

Scientists in the UK may have finally found direct evidence for dark matter pouring out of our Sun.  Dark matter is an invisible mass of unknown origin, that is believed to make up 85 percent of the Universe. But despite that, scientists have never been able to directly detect it - they only know it’s there because of its gravitational effect on regular light and matter.  Now scientists at the University of Leicester have identified a signal on the X-ray spectrum which appears to be a signature of ‘axions’ - a hypothetical dark matter particle that’s never been detected before.  While we can’t get too excited just yet - it will take years to confirm whether this signal really is dark matter - the discovery would completely change our understanding of how the Universe works. After all, dark matter is the force that holds our galaxies together, so learning more about it is pretty important.  The researchers first detected the signal while searching through 15 years of measurements taking by the European Space Agency’s orbiting XMM-Newton space observatory.  Unexpectedly, they noticed that the intensity of X-rays recorded by the spacecraft rose by about 10% whenever XMM-Newton was at the boundary of Earth’s magnetic field facing the Sun - even once they removed all the bright X-ray sources from the sky. Usually, that X-ray background is stable.  “The X-ray background - the sky, after the bright X-ray sources are removed - appears to be unchanged whenever you look at it,” said Andy Read, from the University of Leicester, one of the lead authors on the paper, in a press release. “However, we have discovered a seasonal signal in this X-ray background, which has no conventional explanation, but is consistent with the discovery of axions.”  Researchers predict that axions, if they exist, would be produced invisibly by the Sun, but would convert to X-rays as they hit Earth’s magnetic field. This X-ray signal should in theory be strongest when looking through the sunward side of the magnetic field, as this is where the Earth’s magnetic field is strongest.  And that’s exactly what the scientists found.  The research has now been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Sadly, the first author of the paper Professor George Fraser died earlier this year.  He writes in the paper: “The direct detection of dark matter has preoccupied physics for over 30 years … It appears plausible that axions – dark matter particle candidates - are indeed produced in the core of the Sun and do indeed convert to X-rays in the magnetic field of the Earth.”  The next step is for the researchers to get a larger dataset from XMM-Newton and confirm the pattern they’ve seen in X-rays. Once they’ve done that, they can begin the long process of proving that they have, in fact, detecting dark matter streaming out of our Sun’s core.  And that will take a lot of work, as physicist Christian Beck, who didn’t work on the project, told Ian Sample from The Guardian. “A true discovery of dark matter that is convincing for most scientists would require consistent results from several different experiments using different detection methods, in addition to what has been observed by the Leicester group,” said Beck.  If confirmed, it’s hard to know just how profound the impact of this discovery could be.  “These exciting discoveries, in George’s final paper, could be truly ground-breaking, potentially opening a window to new physics, and could have huge implications, not only for our understanding of the true X-ray sky, but also for identifying the dark matter that dominates the mass content of the cosmos,” said Read in the press release.  http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141810-26360-2.html

I just want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that we are living during truly exciting times in the field of Astronomy. Seriously!! There are so many unknowns still in 2014, yet our advancing technology is helping us understand dark matter more and more as the years progress. Just be patient! We’re going to learn A LOT about our universe in the next decade. All you gotta say is James Webb!! I cannot fathom what Hubble’s replacement is going to provide us in the years to come. Goodness….

astrodidact:

astrodidact:

Scientists in the UK may have finally found direct evidence for dark matter pouring out of our Sun.

Dark matter is an invisible mass of unknown origin, that is believed to make up 85 percent of the Universe. But despite that, scientists have never been able to directly detect it - they only know it’s there because of its gravitational effect on regular light and matter.

Now scientists at the University of Leicester have identified a signal on the X-ray spectrum which appears to be a signature of ‘axions’ - a hypothetical dark matter particle that’s never been detected before.

While we can’t get too excited just yet - it will take years to confirm whether this signal really is dark matter - the discovery would completely change our understanding of how the Universe works. After all, dark matter is the force that holds our galaxies together, so learning more about it is pretty important.

The researchers first detected the signal while searching through 15 years of measurements taking by the European Space Agency’s orbiting XMM-Newton space observatory.

Unexpectedly, they noticed that the intensity of X-rays recorded by the spacecraft rose by about 10% whenever XMM-Newton was at the boundary of Earth’s magnetic field facing the Sun - even once they removed all the bright X-ray sources from the sky. Usually, that X-ray background is stable.

“The X-ray background - the sky, after the bright X-ray sources are removed - appears to be unchanged whenever you look at it,” said Andy Read, from the University of Leicester, one of the lead authors on the paper, in a press release. “However, we have discovered a seasonal signal in this X-ray background, which has no conventional explanation, but is consistent with the discovery of axions.”

Researchers predict that axions, if they exist, would be produced invisibly by the Sun, but would convert to X-rays as they hit Earth’s magnetic field. This X-ray signal should in theory be strongest when looking through the sunward side of the magnetic field, as this is where the Earth’s magnetic field is strongest.

And that’s exactly what the scientists found.

The research has now been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Sadly, the first author of the paper Professor George Fraser died earlier this year.

He writes in the paper: “The direct detection of dark matter has preoccupied physics for over 30 years … It appears plausible that axions – dark matter particle candidates - are indeed produced in the core of the Sun and do indeed convert to X-rays in the magnetic field of the Earth.”

The next step is for the researchers to get a larger dataset from XMM-Newton and confirm the pattern they’ve seen in X-rays. Once they’ve done that, they can begin the long process of proving that they have, in fact, detecting dark matter streaming out of our Sun’s core.

And that will take a lot of work, as physicist Christian Beck, who didn’t work on the project, told Ian Sample from The Guardian. “A true discovery of dark matter that is convincing for most scientists would require consistent results from several different experiments using different detection methods, in addition to what has been observed by the Leicester group,” said Beck.

If confirmed, it’s hard to know just how profound the impact of this discovery could be.

“These exciting discoveries, in George’s final paper, could be truly ground-breaking, potentially opening a window to new physics, and could have huge implications, not only for our understanding of the true X-ray sky, but also for identifying the dark matter that dominates the mass content of the cosmos,” said Read in the press release.

http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20141810-26360-2.html

I just want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that we are living during truly exciting times in the field of Astronomy. Seriously!! There are so many unknowns still in 2014, yet our advancing technology is helping us understand dark matter more and more as the years progress. Just be patient! We’re going to learn A LOT about our universe in the next decade. All you gotta say is James Webb!! I cannot fathom what Hubble’s replacement is going to provide us in the years to come. Goodness….

astrodidact:

This weekend, a rare and ancient comet is going to fly extremely close to Mars, and it’s predicted to put on quite a show.
In fact, it’ll pass Mars at a distance of 139,500 kilometres - just one third of the distance from here to the Moon. That’s much, much closer then any comet has ever flown by Earth, that we know of.
The comet’s being called the Siding Spring Comet, after the Australian observatory from where it was detected, and it’s a long way from home - it’s already spent millions of years travelling from the Oort cloud, a mass of icy comets that hangs frozen at the furthest reaches of our Solar System, at a mind-blowing speed of around 56 kilometres a second.
These Oort cloud comets are extremely rare, and astronomers are keen to find out more about them. Luckily, our Mars rovers and orbiters will be watching the fly-by closely - along with the Hubble Space Telescope and hundreds of other instruments on Earth.
As NASA explained in a press release:
Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. Since this is Comet Siding Spring’s first trip through the inner solar system, scientists are excited to learn more about its composition and the effects of its gas and dust on the Mars upper atmosphere. NASA will be watching closely before, during, and after the flyby with its entire fleet of Mars orbiters and rovers, along with the Hubble Space Telescope and dozens of instruments on Earth. The encounter is certain to teach us more about Oort cloud comets, the Martian atmosphere, and the solar system’s earliest ingredients.
There’s no danger to Curiosity on the surface of Mars as the rover is protected by the planet’s thin atmosphere. However, there’s the small chance that the dust and debris from the comet’s tail will damage the spacecraft orbiting Mars, such as Maven and India’s Mangalyaan. NASA is now “taking steps to protect is Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientfic data”. This all goes down around 2.27pm New York Time, or 5.27am on Monday in Australia.
Fingers crossed for our robot explorers out there, we’ll be thinking of you guys.
http://pda.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141810-26361-2.html

astrodidact:

This weekend, a rare and ancient comet is going to fly extremely close to Mars, and it’s predicted to put on quite a show.

In fact, it’ll pass Mars at a distance of 139,500 kilometres - just one third of the distance from here to the Moon. That’s much, much closer then any comet has ever flown by Earth, that we know of.

The comet’s being called the Siding Spring Comet, after the Australian observatory from where it was detected, and it’s a long way from home - it’s already spent millions of years travelling from the Oort cloud, a mass of icy comets that hangs frozen at the furthest reaches of our Solar System, at a mind-blowing speed of around 56 kilometres a second.

These Oort cloud comets are extremely rare, and astronomers are keen to find out more about them. Luckily, our Mars rovers and orbiters will be watching the fly-by closely - along with the Hubble Space Telescope and hundreds of other instruments on Earth.

As NASA explained in a press release:

Comets from the Oort cloud are both ancient and rare. Since this is Comet Siding Spring’s first trip through the inner solar system, scientists are excited to learn more about its composition and the effects of its gas and dust on the Mars upper atmosphere. NASA will be watching closely before, during, and after the flyby with its entire fleet of Mars orbiters and rovers, along with the Hubble Space Telescope and dozens of instruments on Earth. The encounter is certain to teach us more about Oort cloud comets, the Martian atmosphere, and the solar system’s earliest ingredients.

There’s no danger to Curiosity on the surface of Mars as the rover is protected by the planet’s thin atmosphere. However, there’s the small chance that the dust and debris from the comet’s tail will damage the spacecraft orbiting Mars, such as Maven and India’s Mangalyaan. NASA is now “taking steps to protect is Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientfic data”. This all goes down around 2.27pm New York Time, or 5.27am on Monday in Australia.

Fingers crossed for our robot explorers out there, we’ll be thinking of you guys.

http://pda.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141810-26361-2.html

(via mentalalchemy)

(via aki-zizi)

(via legalmeth)

(via legalmeth)

crookedcivilization:

I’m not sure if someone already did this

(via artoverwhelms)

high-ryanlion-flyin:

Just in case you weren’t on the moon last night. This is what earth looked like from the moon’s perspective 

high-ryanlion-flyin:

Just in case you weren’t on the moon last night. This is what earth looked like from the moon’s perspective 

(via mentalalchemy)

Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.
— Eckhart Tolle (via liberatingreality)

(via mentalalchemy)

The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space.
— Eckhart Tolle (via colordesignlife)

(via mentalalchemy)

THEME BY PARTI