18 October 2014
There’s been just a few articles within the common press not too long ago asserting the invention of darkish matter particles coming from the Solar. That is not the case. No science group is claiming they’ve found darkish matter. The story traces it origin to a paper being revealed in MNRAS, which might be an oblique detection of darkish matter, however may be just a few different issues. It’s an fascinating paper, nonetheless.
What the paper really appears to be like at is feasible proof of axions coming from the Solar. Axions are hypothetical particles that had been first proposed in 1977 to deal with sure points in quantum chromodynamics (QCD), which describes the habits of quarks and such that make up protons and electrons (amongst different issues). There was no proof for axions, but when they exist, then the Solar ought to produce axions by means of nuclear interactions just like the way in which it produces neutrinos.
In response to the mannequin, axions can be be low mass, chargeless particles that don’t work together strongly with gentle. This could make them an appropriate candidate for chilly darkish matter. After all this is able to additionally make them notably troublesome to watch immediately. However not like different darkish matter candidates, axions do work together barely with gentle and electromagnetic fields. So we’d be capable of see them by their interplay with Earth’s magnetic area.
Within the paper the authors exhibit that top vitality axions putting the Earth’s magnetic area might produce x-rays. Once they modeled this concept they discovered that axion-induced x-rays would have a seasonal variation because of the various tilt of Earth’s axis (and thus its magnetic area). They then checked out x-ray knowledge from the XMM-Newton spacecraft, and located that it had the truth is detected a seasonal variation of x-rays. This variation is in keeping with the axion mannequin.
After all earlier than we will say that it’s undoubtedly axions, we have to search for different potential explanations. Not surprisingly there are a number of. For instance, the differences due to the season might be attributable to refined and sophisticated interactions between the photo voltaic wind and Earth’s magnetic area. So axions are a very good candidate for this cyclic variation, however not the one candidate.
The place issues might get fascinating is thru a extra detailed research of the seasonal x-ray variations. If they’re produced by axions, then the x-rays ought to have distinct signatures of their spectrum that may distinguish them from different fashions. So like many innovative discoveries it has potential with out clear affirmation.