Scientists at Durnham University found first signs that dark matter interacts with forces other than gravity, suggesting that dark matter may have a bigger role in the universe than what was thought before.
It is generally believed that dark matter comprises the entire universe’s mass and it’s what keeping the stars and the planets in their respective galaxies. Its substantial impact may be seen through telescopes as it bends light around galaxies that results to “gravitational lensing”, or the creation of starlight ring.
The scientists at Durnham University have spotted an uncommon curvature in one of the rings that suggested that a cluster of dark matter is out of alignment with its respective galaxy which show that a force other than gravity is hindering the dark matter from settling in its correct placement.
According to Dr. Richard Massey of the Institute for Computational Cosmology in Durnham University, if the dark matter’s movement slows down, this action maybe the first evidence that it may probably be interacting very weakly with clouds of gasses and other particles that the rest of the universe is made up of.
This discovery by researchers was made possible using the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) array. These telescopes were used to view the concurrent collision of four distant galaxies at the heart of a galaxy group that is 1.3 billion light years away. They have observed that a galaxy is being lagged behind by its surrounding dark matter clump.
The dark matter is currently at a distance of 5,000 light years (50,000 million million kms) away from its galaxy or a distance it would take for NASA’s Voyager spacecraft 90 million years just to travel.
The recent observation made by the research team may have the potential of ruling out the Cold Dark Matter – a theory that dark matter only interacts with gravity. The observation suggests that dark matter may be interacting with forces in the universe other than gravity as stated by Professor Liliya Williams of the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Massey has said that the parallel universe surrounding earth has become more interesting and that the dark sector may be characterized by rich physics and potential complex behavior. He added that the new discovery on dark matter is compressing existing knowledge from two directions – above and below.
The research was put in print in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.