Dec 7, 2023

New dark matter theory explains two puzzles in astrophysics

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Thought to make up 85% of matter in the universe, dark matter is nonluminous and its nature is not well understood. While normal matter absorbs, reflects, and emits light, dark matter cannot be seen directly, making it harder to detect. A theory called “self-interacting dark matter,” or SIDM, proposes that dark matter particles self-interact through a dark force, strongly colliding with one another close to the center of a galaxy.

In work published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, a research team led by Hai-Bo Yu, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Riverside, reports that SIDM simultaneously can explain two astrophysics puzzles in opposite extremes.

“The first is a high-density halo in a massive elliptical galaxy,” Yu said. “The halo was detected through observations of strong , and its density is so high that it is extremely unlikely in the prevailing cold dark matter theory. The second is that dark matter halos of ultra-diffuse galaxies have extremely low densities and they are difficult to explain by the cold dark matter theory.”

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