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back to article WIMPs wipe each other out in giant radiating spot at galaxy's centre

Weakly interacting massive particles – WIMPs, one of the candidate hypotheses to explain dark matter – are so hard to find on Earth that nobody's ever seen them. However, a just-released analysis of years of gamma ray data suggests they're at the centre of the Milky Way in enormous numbers. The zone they're talking about is huge …

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At that energy range (30-40 GeV), we should be able to make plenty of WIMPs on Earth. (The Higgs Boson was lurking at 125 GeV)

The only minor detail is detecting them...

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You don't need to detect them, they would appear as 'missing' energy - the same process that caused the neutrino to be postulated*. If dark matter is real, it must be some type of matter that can't be created by banging quarks together (at least, not at a few TeV).

* I have committed the ultimate sin, I have predicted the existence of a particle that can never be observed. - Wolfgang Pauli

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Gimp

May not even be weakly interacting, only gravitationally, so not WIMPs, just GIMPs

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It also sounds like there may be a few types of dark matter around, then.

There was the potential 7 keV sterile neutrino dark matter candidate a while back.

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Interesting, but

more data needed (as they indicate). If correct, it gives a clear indication that dark matter is actually there, and not (only) an error in our understanding of gravity. The main reason to postulate the existence of dark matter was the lack of visible mass needed to explain both the orbits of gas and stars in galaxies and gravitational lensing. An alternative theory would be to postulate our law of gravity is wrong (which is also hard to reconcile with other observations).

I await more data eagerly

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Re: Interesting, but

I have wondered whether our universe is actually closed and curved, so that though it is indeed very large (as per HHGTTG) it's as though we are looking around the curve of a sphere, our line of sight (so to speak) never ends, but just keeps on going around and around, with the same objects being seen multiple times at different wavelengths since they would be at different positions each time.

An idle thought anyway.

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@Paul

The universe may well form a closed curve, but it can't be that closed or we would detect the curvature in other ways. If it is closed, there has not been enough time since the big bang for light to perform a complete circumnavigation.

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Re: Interesting, but

If it is closed and curved, and you could see the same object more than once, you wouldn't see exactly the same object, more a much younger and older version of the same object. Chances are you can't see all the way around in time to see anything more than once in that way, because the big bang occurred more recently than would make that possible. It's possible to see the same object through more than one tiny variations in direction, due to gravitational lensing. But it would be a very major cosmological discovery if we started to observe a provably same, distant and early galaxy in more than one very different direction.

What is even more weird is that the further you look in any direction, the closer you get to the same big bang singularity which existed in a much smaller region. That's a bit like the idea of a universe being like an expanding balloon but with an extra dimension - we can look in any direction on the surface of a balloon and you get back to the same point when the much smaller balloon hadn't been inflated.

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Re: Interesting, but

People have been looking at this possibility: http://www.jannalevin.com/books_universe.html

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What's 10,000 light years across and smells of gamma radiation?

Your mum!

Sorry - I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet.

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Re: What's 10,000 light years across and smells of gamma radiation?

Have a point for the unrestrained childishness.

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Re: What's 10,000 light years across and smells of gamma radiation?

Never knew people could actually 'smell' gamma radiation...

(Well maybe Bruce Banner can... I dunno...)

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Re: What's 10,000 light years across and smells of gamma radiation?

It smells like napalm in the morning.

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How do these particles interact with black holes anyway

I am not a physicist, but I would expect dark matter to fall into black holes the same way as ordinary matter -- but the interactions near the event horizon would probably be different than what happens with normal matter. This is the opposite of what some of the observations show, however. From what I understand, dark matter seems to collect in rings that form on the edge of galaxies.

I really wish a science book from 1000 years in the future would show up some time soon since we will probably all be dead before we figure this out.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How do these particles interact with black holes anyway

"I really wish a science book from 1000 years in the future would show up some time soon "

It probably already has - it's just that you don't know what a book from 1000 years in the future will look like.

(HHGG - " You may think you know what a computer terminal looks like..." or similar)

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Facepalm

I'm skeptical.

Not just what his said in this article but in the whole of particle physics. For instance, I knew that they would succeed in finding the Higgs Boson. There was never the least chance that they would fail to find it. Why? Would you want to be the one who went back to the politicians and say, "We can't find it. Ain't it great? We have some new science now!"

Such a statement would have gone over like a lead balloon with the politicians standing there with egg on their faces. Be careful of how much money you spend on your experiments gentlemen. It will definite have an effect on their outcome.

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