Mysterious signal sheds light on the mystery of Dark Matter
An illustration (not to scale) showing axions (blue) streaming out from the Sun, converting in the Earth's magnetic field (red) into X-rays (orange), which are then detected by the XMM-Newton observatory. Copyright: University of Leicester
The discovery of a signal in the X-ray sky by Leicester space scientists is the first potential indication of direct detection of Dark Matter.
The findings are detailed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in the final paper by Professor George Fraser, late Director of the University of Leicester Space Research Centre, who sadly died in March of this year.
The team from our Department of Physics and Astronomy has found what appears to be a signature of 'axions', predicted 'Dark Matter' particle candidates – something that has been a puzzle to science for years.
Dark Matter makes up 85% of the matter of the Universe. It cannot be seen directly with telescopes, but is instead inferred from its gravitational effects on ordinary matter and on light. Dark matter holds the Universe together - without it, galaxies would just unravel and fly apart.