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April 23, 2012 – SPACE - Here’s troubling news in the world of astrophysics, in which astronomers can’t seem to find the dark matter. As you may know dark matter is a much-speculated upon, but unknown substance that cannot be seen but appears to exist as it exerts a gravitational force on material around it. Astronomers first posited the existence of dark matter to explain why the outer portions of galaxies rotate quickly, and it now is also an important part of theories that explain how galaxies form and grow. Scientists believe there must be about five times as much dark matter in the universe as normal matter — atoms, planets, you and me. Last week, in a study that didn’t get the attention it probably deserves, astronomers said they could find any dark matter near our Sun. Existing theories predict that the average amount of dark matter in the Sun’s part of the galaxy should be in the range 1 to 2 pounds of dark matter in a volume the size of the Earth. The new measurements found nada. Zip. Zilch.“This is an article that we are going to have to take seriously,” Texas A&M astronomer Nick Suntzeff told me. Which is to say that if dark matter is not where our theories predict it will be, our theories probably have some serious issues.
Mystery of cosmic rays deepens: The mystery of the origin of the strongest cosmic rays has deepened as new clues into key suspects, the most powerful explosions in the universe, suggest they are likely not potential culprits, researchers say. Gamma-ray bursts are the most powerful explosions in the universe. They can emit as much energy as our sun during its entire 10-billion-year lifetime in anywhere from milliseconds to minutes. Some gamma-ray bursts are thought to be collapses of super massive stars — hypernovas — while others are thought to be collisions of black holes with other black holes or neutron stars,” said study co-author Spencer Klein of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Both types produce brief but intense blasts of radiation.” New evidence may now rule out gamma-ray bursts as sources of these. Using the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole in Antarctica, the boffins watched 300 gamma ray bursts (GRBs) while searching for the neutrinos that are believed to be linked with cosmic ray generation, and found none. “The unexpected absence of neutrinos from GRBs has forced a re-evaluation of the theory for production of cosmic rays and neutrinos in a GRB fireball and possibly the theory that high energy cosmic rays are generated in fireballs.” -Space, Register
Boffins are now even more puzzled about where high-energy cosmic rays come from after a new study showed that gamma ray bursts are probably not to blame.
Astroboffins only had two theories about what causes cosmic rays, which regularly penetrate Earth's atmosphere: huge explosions out in space or supermassive black holes.
Now an international group, made up of no fewer than 250 physicists and engineers, says that the suspected gamma radiation bursts are unlikely to be the source for cosmic rays because they couldn't find any neutrinos emitted from the mother-of-all space bangs they observed.
Cosmic rays are electrically charged subatomic particles with energies of up to one hundred million times more than those created in manmade accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. A gamma ray, meanwhile, is high-energy electromagnetic radiation that's harmful to life.
Serious Blow to Dark Matter Theories?
New study finds mysterious lack of dark matter in Sun’s neighbourhood 18 April 2012