December 9, 2023

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Astrophysicists have discovered Einstein rings that enhance the state of axion dark matter

A team of scientists has been studying “Einstein’s rings” of light from remote Cosmology found that the signatures in the rings indicate the type of dark matter that inhabits background galaxies.

especially, The researchers looked into the lens Photo HS 0810+2554a distant quasar, and found the presence of a wave-like dark matter. they search published Today in Natural Astronomy.

“In our work,” he wrote, “we are testing for the first time ever a prediction made by wave-like dark matter.” Alfred Amroth, an astrophysicist at the University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, and lead author of the study, in an email to Gizmodo. “This is a unique prediction of wave-like dark matter, And we use it Einstein predicted gravitational lensing as our tool. “

Let’s go back for a moment. Dark matter it seems make up about 27% Universebut Scientists don’t know what it is. DrEnergy orbit make up about 68% universe, and, with dark matter, It is recorded in a file Unexplained largeBucket stuff in the universe.

Gravitationally lensed quasars.  The latest team studied the upper-right quasar.

Scientists know that dark matter exists because of its gravitational effects, which can be observed on large scales; When we look at the motions of galaxies and the warping of light around them, it’s clear that there is more matter than we can actually see. Whatever things are, they are invisible to us and barely visible It seems to interact with ordinary matter.

Einstein rings are a product of distorted light by gravity; Where light travels from a distant source through space and Passing a massive object, the light around the intersecting object is bent by the latter’s gravitational field. In some cases, the curved light forms a A near perfect ring About the object from our point of view is allowed To see things that may be hidden from view.

There are a couple Leading candidates for dark matter (And it’s not a zero-sum game; many dark matter candidates could be contributing to the universe.) Weak interaction of massive particles (WIMPs) is a theory Things which have mass and behave like particles But hardly interact With ordinary matter – here we have it Not being able to recognize them.

The other major candidate is the axion, a A theoretical particle (a boson, to be exact) called a laundry detergent. It will be the axion much smaller than a WIMP It has been hypothesized that it behaves more like a wave than a particle, like photons of light.

In the new work, the research team sought to understand a long-standing quandary in astronomy: why the brightness of quasars (distant star-like galaxies) fluctuates. Amroth said models based on WIMPs have difficulty reproducing the brightness of multilensed quasars. But the researchers found that the wave-like dark matter was able to reproduce the brightness anomalies of a quasar called HS 0180+2554.

The new finding “definitely tilts the balance toward axions as a DM filter,” Amroth said, “and forces people to learn to let go of the WIMP model.” “Regardless, it forces us to think about new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.”

Dark matter is not accounted for in the Standard, all-encompassing model The theory describing the four fundamental forces and the behavior of the smallest particles known to us. The model also doesn’t account for gravity, which doesn’t appear to exist at subatomic scales, which raises more questions about how to define dark matter – the wave –like or huge – gravitationally affects its surroundings.

In dark matter model simulations, the team found that the WIMP model predicted smooth curves for an Einstein ring. The wave-like dark matter model found a more chaotic, amorphous edge to the ring. This chaotic edge is consistent with the fluctuations in brightness seen in the quasar.

Simulated edges of Einstein rings in WIMP (left) and wave-like dark matter models (right).

Although the team has just tested a single quasar, “this indicates that wave-like DM may be generally applicable to the wide range of lensing anomalies we see in different systems,” Amruth said. they Owns They have now turned to a brightness anomaly in a lenticular supernova, and their preliminary results indicate that the wave-Like dark matter may be responsible.

This does not mean that WIMPy dark matter does not exist – just that It does not appear to be the dark matter involved in at least some of the gravitational lensing.

More observations and modeling are required But with new observatories in space (the Webb Space Telescope) and on the horizon (the Rubin Observatory and the Romanian Space Telescope), some Questions about dark matter and its nature may soon be resolved.

More: The Webb telescope uses gravitational lensing to examine the Pandora cluster

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