Dark matter is theorized to be responsible for a very large portion of the universe’s total mass. The only problem? We can’t see it, and we’re only aware of it due to its gravitational effects on what we can see.
Now, using simulated data, scientists at the University of Zürich have developed a new technique in an attempt to confirm an old theory: that dark matter actually surrounds the Sun.
The new data seems to confirm this, with 99% confidence on the part of the research’s lead author, Silvia Garbari. According to Garbari:[quote]‘This could be the first evidence for a “disc” of dark matter in our Galaxy, as recently predicted by theory and numerical simulations of galaxy formation, or it could mean that the dark matter halo of our galaxy is squashed, boosting the local dark matter density.’ – Is the Sun surrounded by dark matter?, The Daily Mail[/quote]
The technique involved recreating the entire Milky Way galaxy within a computer simulation, in order to measure the “local dark matter density.”
The data will, of course, need to be confirmed, but for now this is a potentially major step in understanding our universe’s “missing mass.”
Image credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO