NASA Discovers Mysterious X-Ray Signal from Deep Space
By Sachin Trivedi | June 27, 2014 2:41 PM EST
A mysterious X-Ray signal has been discovered by NASA. The discovery was made using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's XMM-Newton. Scientists are of the opinion that the X-ray may be coming from dark matter, a substance that is not fully understood by scientists yet.
REFILE - ADDING RESTRICTION Visitors look at the "Dark Matter" installation by Troika (2014) at the Art Unlimited exhibition at the Art Basel fair in Basel June 17, 2014. Founded by gallerists in 1970, the Art Basel is an international art show which is held annually in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami Beach. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Scientists are excited at the discovery which may lead to a better understanding of dark matter. In a published report, NASA scientists believe that the discovered X-ray may have been produced by the decay of sterile neutrinos.
Sterile neutrinos is a type of particle which may constitute dark matter. The illusive dark matter is considered to make up at least 85 per cent of the universe. The substance is hard to detect as it does not emit or absorb light like other elements in the universe.
The X-ray was discovered in the Perseus galaxy cluster. The X-ray line was also discovered in the combined study of 73 other galaxy clusters. The discoveries have been made using NASA's flagship observatory Chandra X-ray Observatory and Europe's XMM-Newton Observatory.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory was deployed by Space Shuttle Colombia in the year 1999. The observatory was built to observe X-rays from high energy regions of the universe. The XMM-Newton is the biggest scientific satellite ever built in Europe. The discoveries made by the two observatories are still not conclusive.
"We know that the dark matter explanation is a long shot, but the pay-off would be huge if we're right," said Esra Bulbul of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass. He is the lead in this study and has said that they will continue to test their interpretation of their finding.
Understanding dark matter is very important for astronomers. The understanding of this substance will help astronomers have a better understanding of the universe. Events like the origin of the universe and the expansion of the universe can be better understood by studying dark matter.
More studies are expected at NASA. The institute plans to now combine the data they have compiled with the data of JAXA's Suzaku mission, the Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite. Scientists are also waiting for the launch of a more precise and accurate X-ray detector called Astro-H. The studies are expected to check if the detected emissions are indeed from dark matter or from normal matter.
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