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article imagePeering into the dark side: Origins of the universe revealed

By Tim Sandle     Mar 31, 2021 in Science
Dark matter comprises the majority of matter in the Universe, but its nature remains unknown. The detection of new particles may offer a clue as to the origins and a connection to black hole formation.
It is therorized that 20 per cent of the matter that the universe is made of planets and galaxies are made of. As to the remainder? The universe also consists of dark matter, which no one knows what is. A new finding may help with understanding this material.
What is dark matter?
Dark matter is a form of matter thought to account for approximately 85 percent of the matter in the universe and about 27 percent of its total mass. The mass if of interest to scientists due to its association with the formation of black holes. Dark matter is though to have a very tiny mass. Given that only force acting on dark matter is gravity, researchers have estimated that the particles comprising dark matter must have a mass between 10to the power of minus 3 and 10 to the power of 7 electronvolts (eV).
READ MORE: New supermassive black holes revealed
As to what dark matter actually is, the NANOGrav Collaboration has captured a very low-frequency gravitational waves. This may mean new physics beyond the Standard Model, according to researchers from Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz. The Standard Model of particle physics is the theory describing three of the four fundamental forces (the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions, and excluding gravitational force) in the universe.
New particles
In turn, this may reveal the presence of a field of extremely light axion-like particles (ALPs) which are one of the candidates for dark matter. These particles could be contained within a fifth dimension (so small as to be unnoticeable to humans).
The research appears in the journal SciPost Physics, with the paper being titled "Whispers from the dark side: Confronting light new physics with NANOGrav data."
This connects with efforts around observing dark matter particle interactions with ordinary matter by using extremely sensitive detectors, which would confirm its existence and shed light on its properties.
Why this research is important is because of one prevailing theory in physics – that dark matter preceded the Big bang. Hence, understanding more about this material can offer clues and perhaps a more accurate prediction to the age and mechanism for the formation of the universe.
More about Black holes, Dark matter, Universe
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