Scientists think that a “hurricane” of dark matter could be moving past the Sun, and that it could be seen from Earth.
The study was led by Ciaran O’Hare from the University of Zaragoza in Spain. It was published in Physical Review D and looked at the S1 stream, which is a group of nearby stars moving in the same direction. A statement from APS Physics said that these are “thought to be what’s left of a dwarf galaxy that the Milky Way ate billions of years ago.”
Last year, the ESA’s Gaia satellite, which is making a map of a billion stars in our galaxy, found the S1 stream, which is made up of 30,000 stars. About 30 of these streams have been found in our galaxy. Each one is left over from a collision that happened in the past.
S1, on the other hand, is very interesting because it is “blowing” past us at about 500 kilometers per second (310 miles per second). And the researchers said that this might have an effect on the dark matter around us that can be seen.
“WIMPs” are a type of dark matter that has been talked about a lot. “Current WIMP detectors probably won’t see any effect from S1,” the statement said, “but future WIMP detectors might.”
All galaxies are thought to have formed inside a large halo of dark matter, which we can’t see and doesn’t interact with regular matter. But the scientists noticed that along S1 was moving about 10 billion solar masses of dark matter from the original dwarf galaxy.
A picture of a stream of stars moving past our Sun. Jon Lomberg/NASA/C. O’Hare Cosmos Magazine says, “As the S1 stream’smacks the Solar System in the face,’” as the authors put it, “its counter-rotating structure will make a lot more dark matter appear to come from the same part of the sky as the usual dark matter wind.”“In fact, it should make a structure that looks like a ring around this wind, which directional dark matter detectors… could easily find in the future.”
ScienceAlert also said that axions, which are theoretical particles 500 million times lighter than an electron and could be dark matter, might be able to be found in the stream. They said, “In the presence of a strong magnetic field, these ultralight particles, which we can’t see, could be turned into photons, which we can see.”
Even though many people have tried, dark matter has never been found directly. But maybe this “hurricane” will give them a fun chance to do so.