dark matter hurricane, dark matter, earth
image source: NZ Herald

A paper recently told that the earth, in fact the whole solar system is caught in the cosmic hurricane. If we consider the calculations done by the scientists then the hurricane consisted of Dark matter is approaching the solar system a fast pace of around 500 kilometers per second that means around 310 mps.

dark matter hurricane, dark matter earth
image source: CNet

We see that the hurricane of dark matter is coming towards us but what is exactly dark matter and why we need to fear about this matter.

WHAT IS DARK MATTER?

Dark matter is nothing but just a hypothetical form of matter which accounts for more than 85% matter of the universe and it is non-baryonic in nature.

Its presence is implied on various things like gravitational effects, that cannot be explained unless more matter is present than can be seen. For this reason, most experts think dark matter to be ubiquitous in the universe and to have had a strong influence on its structure and evolution.

Dark matter is never seen, never tested nor proved but still it exists.

The question arises that if dark matter is not detected and tested then how scientists are calculating that we are in amidst of the hurricane of dark matter. The answer relies on the motion of the stars.

If there is any chance that we are in danger? Well the answer for this question is NO! but it has lots of scientific interconnections. It all started when the data is released from the Gaia Satellite last year. Stellar Stream was discovered by the astronomers, the dissolving remains left behind by a large dwarf spheroidal galaxy that was eaten by the Milky Way many years ago.

An unknown stream of stars was detected then in the Milky Way and called as S1 as of now. But it means that the solar system is coming in the path of 30,000 stars but take a long breath as we are safe. They are not going to hit us as many of you might have been thinking. This stream of stars are nearly 100 stars of the similar age and composition, and they are orbiting the Milky way but interestingly in the opposite direction that of the normal stars.

Theoretical physicist Ciaran O’Hare from the University of Zaragoza in Spain has led a team of researchers in figuring out the effect of S1 on the dark matter in our little corner of the galaxy. S1 is said to be the dwarf galaxy and undergone cosmic cannibalism. Basically, dwarf galaxies are so small and orbit the larger galaxies and eventually collides with the larger galaxies and contribute to the parent galaxy. But they contain a higher proportion of dark matter.  In Fornax, a well-studied dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky Way, researchers estimate that the dark matter is between 10 and 100 times greater than the mass found in its stars.

S1 stream of stars will be passing through the earth with a higher velocity as the dark matter is more and it is about twice as fast. It is thought that S1 dark matter is flying through the solar system at a speed of about 550 km/s, or about 1.2 million mph. While these numbers are impressive, they are misleading.

It is so confusing that if the dark matter exists then it is diffuse and will not be having any effect on the solar system.

Dark matter is not observed yet and these numbers are also variables. In a paper in the prestigious journal Physical Review D, researcher Ciaran O’Hare and his collaborators calculated the possibilities of discovering dark matter using both existing and proposed dark matter detectors. They considered two varieties of dark matter particles: a very heavy kind called a WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle) and a very light kind called an axion. Because the ultimate nature of dark matter is not known, it is important to be open to all possibilities.

These particles if exists then can be detected by collisions with electrons or atomic nuclei which is producing light and then picked up by the liquid xenon and crystal detectors. One of these potential signatures is produced by the hypothetical weakly interacting massive particles, known as WIMPs. These WIMPs are till now unable to find any effect from S1. But it may be possible that this is because of low detection techniques and when refined technology comes then some observations would come out.

According to calculations by theoretical physicist Pierre Sikivie, these ultralight particles – which we can’t see – could be converted to photons which we can see, in the presence of a strong magnetic field.

“Axion haloscopes possess by far the greatest potential sensitivity to the S1 stream if its dark matter component is sufficiently cold,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “Once the axion mass has been discovered, the distinctive velocity distribution of S1 can easily be extracted from the axion power spectrum.”

 

 

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