Controversial X-Ray Signal Might Be Dark Matter, New Study Claims

Composite X-ray, Radio, and optical images of the Perseus cluster. X-ray: NASA/CXO/Oxford University/J. Conlon et al. Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF/Univ. of Montreal/Gendron-Marsolais et al. Optical: NASA/ESA/IoA/A. Fabian et al.; DS

The team points the finger at dark matter to explain the distribution of the emission. They suggest that dark matter particles absorb X-rays from the center of galaxies and then re-emit them in random directions. So we don’t see the signal when looking directly at it, but we do detect it in the outskirts.

"This is not a simple picture to paint, but it's possible that we've found a way to both explain the unusual X-ray signals coming from Perseus and uncover a hint about what dark matter actually is," added co-author Nicholas Jennings.

While this is intriguing, more observations are necessary to understand if this signal is caused by dark matter or another phenomenon entirely. It is too early to tell.

"We expect that this result will either be hugely important or a total dud," said Joseph Conlon of Oxford University, who led the new study. "I don't think there is a halfway point when you are looking for answers to one of the biggest questions in science."

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How the X-ray signal might be produced by dark matter. NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

 

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