There’s a “dark matter hurricane” sweeping through our corner of our Milky Way galaxy. As you are reading this, it’s passing over Earth. And this fast-moving stream may reveal major, previously unknown details about dark matter, a new study has found.
According to astronomers, a ‘hurricane of dark matter’ is heading towards earth at full speed, and we may just have the best opportunity ever to study the elusive material spread across the universe.
The incredible find, made by Ciran O’Hare, of the University of Zaragoza, has just been published in Physical Review D.
According to the study, our entire Solar System is about to “sink” into the remains of an ancient galaxy, long devoured by the Milky Way.
And while we know very little about Dark Matter, we know that all galaxies are surrounded by dark matter.
For example, when the Sun and its planets move around our Milky Way, our entire system travels through the halo of dark matter at a speed of 230 km / s.
Dark matter, therefore, appears to us like a high-speed “wind”.
But last year, the European Space Agency’s GAIA satellite measured the movements of a series of nearby stars, and in doing so detected a previously unknown “stream”, which was called S1. The S1 stream was identified last year in an ongoing billion-star survey by the Gaia satellite.
Later calculations indicated that it was the remains of a small dwarf galaxy, cannibalized by the Milky Way a long time ago.
Now, the new study presented by O’Hare has found that ten billion solar masses of dark matter are moving along S1 and, most importantly, they are moving directly toward our position in space.
When all that dark matter reaches us, it will hit the Sun, and any detectors of dark matter on Earth, at speeds exceeding 500 kilometers per second (km / s), twice as fast as the “standard” dark matter wind that is found in the Milky Way Galaxy.
No danger for Humans
This phenomenon, which does not entail any danger for humanity, is presented as a great opportunity to learn more features of this invisible matter that constitutes a quarter of the total mass and energy of the universe.
According to calculations made by physicist Pierre Sikivie, in the presence of a strong magnetic field the ultralight particles that make up dark matter, known as axions, could become visible photons, which would allow the scientific community to detect them.
This research is published in Physical Review D.