Jupiter could make an ideal dark matter detector….

Jupiter could make an ideal dark matter detector

So that you wish to discover dark matter, however you don’t know the place to look. An enormous planet is likely to be precisely the form of particle detector you want! Fortunately, our photo voltaic system simply occurs to have a few them out there, and the most important and closest is Jupiter. Researchers Rebecca Leane (Stanford) and Tim Linden (Stockholm) launched a paper this week describing how the gasoline large simply would possibly maintain the important thing to discovering the elusive dark matter.

The character of dark matter is among the largest ongoing mysteries in physics proper now. It interacts gravitationally—we will see it holding collectively galaxies that might in any other case fly aside—but it surely doesn’t appear to work together with regular matter in different methods.

The preferred theories posit that dark matter is a few form of particle that’s both too small or too weakly interacting to be simply noticed. Particle accelerators and collider experiments have been set as much as smash subatomic particles collectively; researchers hope to see sudden quantities of vitality lacking from the ensuing collision, which might counsel some unknown particle, probably dark matter, is escaping the detector. To this point, no luck.

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However dark matter ought to be out and about in nature too, and could be gravitationally captured by objects with massive gravity wells, like Earth, the solar and Jupiter. Over time, dark matter could construct up inside a planet or star till there’s sufficient density that one dark matter particle would possibly hit one other, annihilating each. Even when we can’t see dark matter itself, we should always be capable of see the outcomes of such a collision. It might produce high-energy radiation within the type of gamma rays.

Enter NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray House Telescope, launched in 2008 on a Delta II rocket. It’s been inspecting the sky for sources of gamma rays for over a decade now. Researchers Leane and Linden used the telescope to have a look at Jupiter, and produced the first-ever evaluation of the enormous planet’s gamma-ray exercise. They hoped to see proof of extra gamma rays created by dark matter annihilation inside Jupiter.

As Leane explains, Jupiter’s measurement and temperature make it an ideal dark matter detector. “As a result of Jupiter has a massive floor space in comparison with different photo voltaic system planets, it could seize extra dark matter… You would possibly then marvel why not simply use the even greater (and really shut by) solar. Properly, the second benefit is that as a result of Jupiter has a cooler core than the solar, it offers the dark matter particles much less of a thermal kick. This partly can cease lighter dark matter from evaporating out of Jupiter, which might have evaporated out of the solar.”

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Leane and Linden’s preliminary research of Jupiter has not discovered dark matter simply but. Nonetheless, there was one tantalizing gamma-ray extra at low vitality ranges, which goes to require higher instruments to correctly research. “We’re actually stretching Fermi’s limits to research such low-energy gammas,” mentioned Leane. “Wanting ahead, it is going to be attention-grabbing to see if upcoming MeV gamma-ray telescopes comparable to AMEGO and e-ASTROGAM discover any Jovian gamma rays, particularly on the decrease finish of our evaluation, the place Fermi’s efficiency suffers. Possibly Jupiter nonetheless has some secrets and techniques to share.”

Each the AMEGO and e-ASTROGRAM telescopes are nonetheless within the idea stage, however they might simply be the instruments wanted to seek out dark matter, and Jupiter simply is likely to be the goal object by which to seek out it.

Leane and one other colleague, Juri Smirnov (Ohio State), assume {that a} comparable method could even be used to search for dark matter in Jupiter-like exoplanets or cool brown dwarf stars.

Exoplanets and brown dwarfs nearer to the middle of the galaxy, the place there are larger densities of dark matter, ought to seem hotter in infrared than planets and stars additional away, as a result of extra frequent dark matter annihilation of their cores. The James Webb House Telescope would possibly be capable of present an infrared survey of sufficient planets to corroborate this concept.

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Whether or not we discover proof of dark matter in an exoplanet, or in our personal gasoline large near residence, such a discovery would mark a giant leap ahead in our mannequin of the universe. There’s no assure of both, but it surely’s definitely value a glance, and the groundwork for the search is being laid proper now.

Supply:First Evaluation of Jupiter in Gamma Rays and a New Seek for Dark Matter. arXiv:2104.02068v1 [astro-ph.HE]

Jupiter could make an ideal dark matter detector

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