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Dark Matter Discovered Near Solar System?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the near-being-a-relative-term dept.

Space 179

gpronger writes "The ATIC (Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter) has potentially discovered the presence of dark matter close (only 3000 light-years) to our solar system. The system detected a large-amount of high energy cosmic rays which match the theoretical signature of dark matter annihilating itself. The universe is believed to be composed of about 25% dark matter, but there has been little evidence of it. This discovery, if correct, would be the first." The paper was published in Nature , but it requires a subscription to see beyond the abstract.

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Holy crap. (-1, Offtopic)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854041)

I just logged in and got a first post.

Re:Holy crap. (2, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854105)

wow, on behalf of the winners committee on /. (because of course none of us here are losers), I'd like to present you with this ribbon and a fucking cookie.

Enjoy, and thank you for you contribution to the conversation!!

Re:Holy crap. (3, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854139)

'fucking cookies' are unpleasantly ambiguous.

Re:Holy crap. (4, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854281)

Over there, next to your regular one.

In Soviet Russia (3, Funny)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854043)

Dark Matter sees evidence of YOU.

In Soviet Amerika (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854237)

Dark matter is the President!

zomg (5, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854045)

ZOMG, Mom, is that you?

Re:zomg (5, Informative)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854077)

see http://www.xkcd.com/502/ [xkcd.com] for the joke

Re:zomg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25856811)

xkcd: usually very funny, sometimes very sad

Re:zomg (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854633)

*ROFL* Parent is definitely on topic and underrated. See the xkcd link above.

Re:zomg (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25855051)

Link to Full Article [rapidshare.com]
 
  Abstract:
Galactic cosmic rays consist of protons, electrons and ions, most of
which are believed to be accelerated to relativistic speeds in supernova
remnants1â"3. All components of the cosmic rays show an
intensity that decreases as a power law with increasing energy
(for example as E22.7). Electrons in particular lose energy rapidly
through synchrotron and inverse Compton processes, resulting in a
relatively short lifetime (about 105 years) and a rapidly falling
intensity, which raises the possibility of seeing the contribution
from individual nearby sources (less than one kiloparsec away)4.
Here we report an excess of galactic cosmic-ray electrons at energies
of ,300â"800 GeV, which indicates a nearby source of energetic
electrons. Such a source could be an unseen astrophysical object
(such as a pulsar5 or micro-quasar6) that accelerates electrons to
those energies, or the electrons could arise from the annihilation of
dark matter particles (such as a Kaluzaâ"Klein particle7 with a mass
of about 620 GeV).

link to full article (1)

vindimy (941049) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855089)

Here's another link to full article [uploading.com] . It's quite scientific, not for your average slashdot reader.. :/

math hosers. (0)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854097)

> What's more, the signal peaked at 650 GeV and then rapidly declined to the background level at
> 800 GeV.

Uh...

Peaking at 650G and then declining to 800G?

Did TFA just royally f**k up its math or something?

Re:math hosers. (5, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854121)

You have a background intensity that is a function of energy, B(E).

Signal intensity is also a function of energy, S(E).

The observed intensity I(E) is B(E) + S(E). The signal portion (observed intensity above background level) peaks at E = 650 GeV. At 800 GeV (and, one would assume, higher), the signal is small enough that the observed intensity is adequately explained only by background.

Re:math hosers. (2, Informative)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854133)

No.
They have an energy dependent signal.

Re:math hosers. (3, Interesting)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854425)

...They have an energy dependent signal....

So there is a signal, but what produces it is still only a conjectural speculative interpretation of an observation. From experiments here at home, such radiation is ONLY and ALWAYS produced by charged particles. Instead of dark matter, the radiation could be produced by naturally occurring interstellar or intergalactic particle acceleration. It could even be some space alien's giant version of the LHC. All we observe is lots of radiation, but then they are guessing what produces it. If it is dark matter, then there should also be dark antimatter.

We know from measurements that the sun produces or is involved with an enormous amount of electrical current we call the solar wind. Even though the earth intercepts only a minute fraction of this, some strong outburst of solar electricity has shut down power grids and communication systems.

Even if there is an interstellar electric field of only millvolts per kilometer, the vast distances of space can still accelerate charged particles, mostly electrons, to immense energies. These could produce much radiation when they encounter intense magnetic fields we have observed. Annihilation of any sort is only one other, far less likely possibility.

Re:math hosers. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854971)

I think I've seen you make this comment before.

As before, this radiation is not solely produced by charged particles.

Re:math hosers. (0)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855651)

...As before, this radiation is not solely produced by charged particles.

What other KNOWN way is there to produce ELECTROmagnetic radiation, except with electrons? What other way is there to produce a magnetic field besides and electric current?

Re:math hosers. (3, Insightful)

CTachyon (412849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855677)

Dude, seriously, read up on electroweak theory. You're so 1960's.

Re:math hosers. (3, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855985)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium-99m [wikipedia.org]

There are lots of reactions that produce EM radiation. This one is used in medical imaging. Positron-electron annihilation also creates gamma rays. Yes, those are charged particles, but the gammas are not produced by the charges moving. That reaction is also used every day in medical imaging.

All these resources available on the Internet and you can't even educate yourself. Such a waste.

Re:math hosers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854455)

It's dark matter, so it's upside down.

Re:math hosers. (1)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854535)

The graph of -(x - 3)^2 + 5 peaks at 3 but rapidly declines bellow by 6

. You are assuming that the numbers were the range of the observations not the domain. that's why is said at 650 GeV not to 650 GeV.

Re:math hosers. (5, Informative)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854543)

Did TFA just royally f**k up its math or something?

No, their math is just peachy.

A figure like 650 GeV is the energy of ONE cosmic ray. Think of a graph of the number of rays arriving per second versus the energy of the individual rays. You're getting this many 400 GeV rays per second, this many 500 GeV rays, and so on.

What TFA says is that LOTS of 650 GeV rays were arriving from the newly observed source, and hardly any 800 GeV rays except for the background rate that you get from everywhere in the sky.

rj

close ? (4, Funny)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854131)

This must be some meaning of 'close' that I was previously unaware of.

Close to our Solar System (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854143)

We must have very different notions of close. I personally cannot begin to imagine how one could consider 190 million AU to be close.

Re:Close to our Solar System (4, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854215)

Compared to intergalactic space, 3,000 light years is practically next door. It's all relative, and when it comes to astronomy, anything inside the Milky Way is considered close.

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854269)

I believe the size of the universe would be 15 Billion light years - so 3000 is close.

If my calculations are correct - that would be like finding out that a random person from somewhere on earth - actually lived 27 feet away from you!

Re:Close to our Solar System (5, Informative)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854577)

Interestingly enough, the universe is almost certainly much bigger than you believe.

Honestly, we have no idea and probably no real way of determining how big the universe really is. Nonetheless, the observable universe seems to be at least 90 billion light years [wikipedia.org] in diameter. So, it'd be more like finding that random person in the same room.

Re:Close to our Solar System (0, Redundant)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856623)

How does that match with the big bang theory, 13.5-14 billion years old and nothing can travel faster than light? =P

I'm to tired to read it now, wherefrom come the estimated age? Not from the size and expanding at light speed or below I hope? Or well, if your number is correct that would still mean it's at least 45 billion years. So uhm, fail :D

I haven't read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_universe [wikipedia.org] yet :D

Re:Close to our Solar System (1, Informative)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854597)

What? Wild leap of faith, my friend.

You are assuming that the universe is finite, and has been expanding at the speed of light from 15 billion years ago.

Actually, the big bang occurred about 13.73 billion years ago, and from that you can calculate the radius of the visible universe, which is about 13.8 billion light years.

The actual radius is unknown, as we don't know if the universe is finite or infinite, but it's at least 46 billion light years.

But yeah, it's pretty close.

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854747)

I was speaking very roughly - 15B ~= 13.9B. I am assuming the size of the universe is equal to the expansion from the big bang at the speed of light.

(I forgot about diameter vs. Radius though)

So revising my initial estimate - maybe more like 13ft.

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

JLF65 (888379) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855941)

13.73 billion next Wednesday at 3:54 PM to be precise. ;)

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856637)

Don't you mean the other way around? How could we tell big bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago? Much easier to see how far we can see I guess.

So shouldn't the longest distance to the far "edge" be 13.8 billion light years, which depending on where in space we are located mean that space have a diameter of 13.8 to 27.6 billion light years depending on if we are in the centrum or close to the edge (unless it's spherical and we can only see the "surface" where we are located and not the edge on the opposite side =P

Anyway, how can we go from that size to estimate how old it is? Because they expect it to expand at light speed?

Or do they get the age from it all being dark further away so it couldn't had started back then?

It gets fucked up in either way.

Or I've just lost myself, time for breakfast (and caffeine) :D

Re:Close to our Solar System (3, Informative)

C18H27NO3 (1282172) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854665)

The current estimation is believed to be ~13.7 billion light years with a diameter of ~93Gly, (46 billion light years in any direction out from Earth).((Comoving distance, cosmologicaql time, et al.)) 3,000 LY would equate to roughly 17,635,876,119,550,800 miles. 46G LY would equate to roughly 270,416,767,166,418,000,000,000 miles.

While not very close, it is a heck of a lot closer than if we were able to see it nearer the \edge\ of the observable portion of our universe.

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856173)

"...that would be like finding out that a random person from somewhere on earth - actually lived 27 feet away from you!"

This happened to me - twice! - so I guess the astronomers might have indeed found a lump of dark matter. :-)

Re:Close to our Solar System (0, Offtopic)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854345)

Psh. You could travel that far in less than a year at Warp 9.9.

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854473)

You could get there in 16.5 hours with a quantum slipstream drive [memory-alpha.org] .

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854511)

Sure. But if you go 0.1 faster than that, everyone turns into salamanders. Is it worth the risk?

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856655)

Yes? As long as you don't go 0.1 faster. Quite obvious answer.

Ok, I put in the sound effect myself: "woosh", because I do understand it was like, a joke to get the salamander reference ;/

Re:Close to our Solar System (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855991)

The reason this gets called close is that these are high energy cosmic rays. The high energy ones get slowed down (lose energy) as they zip around the universe, so if we observe them they must originate fairly "close" to us. Close, that is, in comparison to the extra-galactic ones. 3000 light years is nothing, even on a galactic scale.

the next logical question... (5, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854157)

where is the dark antimatter?

Re:the next logical question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854685)

You're doing it wrong. Dark Matter is a bit of a misnomer.

Re:the next logical question... (2, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854829)

I eated it

Re:the next logical question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854873)

I suppose it is in the same place that antimatter in general is. Very far away from normal matter.

Re:the next logical question... (2, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855501)

It seems that at least some dark matter particles are their own antiparticles since they can annihilate into gamma photons.

(Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854187)

Doesn't a Calorimeter measure calories? I know with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up everybody is going to be eating too much. I guess I should walk to work to burn off some.

25%? Wait a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854211)

I thought it was supposed to be 75%?

I'm confused now.

Re:25%? Wait a minute.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854363)

I believe you're thinking of dark energy - it's currently thought to be about 74% of the universe's mass/energy. Roughly 22% is guesstimated to be dark matter, and about 4% is "normal" matter.

Re:25%? Wait a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854421)

Dark ENERGY is about 75%.

And most popular dark matter theories propose that the dark matter particle is it's own antiparticle.

We''ll likely see more research like this. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854225)

What with Obama at the helm, dark matter will likely be a major priority over the next few years.

Re:We''ll likely see more research like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854541)

With Obama in charge, ALL matters will be dark matters!

Common doublespeak! (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854245)

The universe is believed to be composed of about 25% dark matter, but there has been little evidence of it. This discovery, if correct, would be the first.

If this would be the first evidence how can we already have a little evidence of it?

Re:Common doublespeak! (3, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854377)

It would be more correct to say we lack evidence for viable alternatives, assuming the current models used, for which we now lack evidence unless evidence has been lacking on the existence of dark matter. Which may be great for grant checks, but it's lousy science.

Re:Common doublespeak! (4, Informative)

EveLibertine (847955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854391)

The things that are considered "evidence" of dark matter are things that match prediction models of things that would happen because of dark matter. Fancy stuff like high energy cosmic rays of certain types and the like. The trick is that there are also may be other models that predict similar types of events that are used as evidence of dark matter, but these models are models that exclude the possibility of dark matter

So, the evidence that points towards dark matter could also point towards other conflicting models of our universe, essentially being evidence for many different models at once. The reason discoveries of this kind of evidence is exciting is because it gives us something to look at and test so that we might select or eliminate from the groups of conflicting models.

Re:Common doublespeak! (4, Informative)

NeoSkink (737843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855425)

No other theory works as well as dark matter (as part of LCDM) to explain obersavations. Other theories have to be changed to account for what we observe at pretty much every scale. Those that work for Galaxy rotation don't work for clusters, which don't work for lensing, which don't work for early structure formation, and so on. Sure, one or two pieces of evidence may favor one theory or another over dark matter, but LCDM fits in the vast majority of cases, far more than any other theory.

Heck, you don't think that we scientists got together one day and said "I know, lets make up some goofy theory and then fudge the data to fit it!" do you? You do realize multiple theories were purposed, predictions were created, new data was taken, and conclusions drawn about which theories were supported by the new evidence, right? And that LCDM is the one that survived all the vetting? And that this process is still on going, yet LCDM still remains as the best theory?

Just checking... See, that's sort of how science is supposed (and in this case does) work.

Re:Common doublespeak! (1)

JLF65 (888379) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855961)

Heck, you don't think that we scientists got together one day and said "I know, lets make up some goofy theory and then fudge the data to fit it!" do you?

Actually, it's the other way around. Scientists looked at the data and saw it didn't fit, so they made up some goofy theories that "explained" why their calculations didn't match reality.

No! My theory isn't WRONG! It's ... err... invisible matter that can't be detected in any manner!! Yeah! That's the ticket!

Can you imagine if you did that in any other field??

Mathematician: And my theory shows conclusively that 2 + 2 is 5!

Person with firm grip on reality: Err... isn't 2 + 2 equal to 4? I can demonstrate with my fingers if you're having trouble visualizing it.

Mathematician: Actually, it IS 5, but the extra is carried away by invisible pixies that cannot be detected!

Re:Common doublespeak! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25856467)

Actually, it's the other way around. Scientists looked at the data and saw it didn't fit, so they made up some goofy theories that "explained" why their calculations didn't match reality.

OK, so scientists look at how galaxies behave and notice that they are behaving as if they had more mass than we can observe them having. Now there are two options: either 1. galaxies contain mass that hasn't been observed or 2. the theories of how the gravity works need to be revised. Both of these options are being studied, and so far the 'unobserved mass' hypothesis seems to explain obsrvations pretty well.

According to you, however, option 1 should have been discarded in the first place, for some ideological reason.

Re:Common doublespeak! (2, Interesting)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857035)

Scientists looked at the data and saw it didn't fit, so they made up some goofy theories that "explained" why their calculations didn't match reality.

Yeah, uh, DUH. That's what science IS. You make up a theory to describe what you observe. If it doesn't fit, it's wrong, so you make up a new one and see if that works.

As another poster said, you seem to have some kind of ideological prejudice against the particular theory they came up with. But it's foolish to criticize them merely for coming up with a new theory in the first place. That's what they're SUPPOSED to do.

No! My theory isn't WRONG! It's ... err... invisible matter that can't be detected in any manner!! Yeah! That's the ticket!

So you're mocking the idea that there can be particles out there which don't interact with light, despite the fact that we know such particles exist, e.g., neutrinos? The main difference between neutrinos and dark matter is that dark matter needs to be heavier than neutrinos. And dark matter particles have been PREDICTED to exist for entirely independent reasons in order to explain other mysteries in particle physics; indeed, the Standard Model itself arguably already contains dark matter candidates (axions). According to you, this is an insane idea to be derided, despite the fact that its predictions agree with numerous observed phenomena including galactic rotation curves, galactic cluster orbits, large-scale structure formulation, cosmology and the CMBR, gravitational lensing, galaxy collisions, etc.

Re:Common doublespeak! (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856723)

Ohnoez, science goes the way of religion =P

Can we please keep the evidence as evidence and don't count theoretic results of theoretic theories as somewhat less trustworthy evidence? :D

Re:Common doublespeak! (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854501)

This is "news", not information.

What I find amusing is that the summary is an accurate resume of the article, which is thoroughly inaccurate.

The "little evidence" we have is the shape of colliding galaxies, of which the most famous is the Bullet Cluster [wikipedia.org] , and gravitational lenses in regions that appear to be free from "normal" matter.

The exciting thing here is that they measured the actual energy spectrum of the beams, which could give insight on what are the particles of antimatter. That, AFAIK, we had no idea until now.

Re:Common doublespeak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854527)

Belief is not evidence. The belief is derived from theoretical models, i.e. it is a hypothesis. Evidence is based on observation. Both are part of the scientific method.

Of course if you are a christian then belief is evidence, and eventually you will end up with a conclusion that is logically equivalent to having monkeys fly out of your butt. But that would be for another topic....

Re:Common doublespeak! (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854839)

There is a huge amount of numbers between zero and one. Duhh.

Re:Common doublespeak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25855279)

They should have said "little direct evidence of it". We have plenty of evidence for it. Galaxy rotation curves (the speed at which the arms that galaxies move) require some form of extra mass to explain them, and the bullet cluster (google it for more info) is pretty solid proof that there is some form of non-baryonic matter out there. However, even though there is plenty of evidence for it, nobody has seen a signal directly from it (only the result of its effect on normal, baryonic matter). Finding direct evidence for DM would mean a trip to Stockholm.

Bad summary. (5, Informative)

JohnnyDanger (680986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854461)

The summary misinterprets the results.

The instrument detects high-energy electrons. They found an excess (only 70, but statistically significant) with a particular energy, which if they come from a galactic source (like a pulsar), that source must be within 3000 light years. However, the researchers can't find an appropriate source.

Alternatively, this could be due to annihilating dark matter---the energy spectrum matches some models---but that's not necessarily coming from a particular source.

Re:Bad summary. (-1, Troll)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854943)

So like much of astronomy, they are pushing snake oil, and those who wish to believe are buying it by the bucketful with little to no evidence that it will cure all their ills. Astronomists are truly the new priesthood. They have as much basis in fact as astrologists. Go ahead mod me down as a troll.

Re:Bad summary. (1)

siride (974284) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855289)

They aren't selling anything. They are just coming up with ideas to explain things many light years away (i.e., not particularly relevant to business practices).

Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (0, Troll)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854477)

If you believe that extraterrestrials once lived on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system, then every little hill will look like an intelligently designed artifact. If you believe in dark matter, then every little unexplained phenomenon becomes evidence for dark matter. It's mostly a matter of faith. The same goes for all the other weird inventions of cosmology. I see very little science in this sort of things.

Heck, we have no clue, really, as to what make things fall or even why bodies move, and yet some feel they know enough to come up with all sorts of half-baked conjectures based on their incorrect and incomplete understanding. Unless and until physicists can fully explain the true mechanism of movement in language that the layperson can understand, I'll remain highly skeptical of their more outlandish conclusions (black holes, wormholes, dark matter, dark energy, big bang, parallel universes, etc.), sorry.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (4, Insightful)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854551)

Unless and until physicists can fully explain the true mechanism of movement in language that the layperson can understand, I'll remain highly skeptical of their more outlandish conclusions (black holes, wormholes, dark matter, dark energy, big bang, parallel universes, etc.), sorry.

How do you expect the explanations in layman's terms to be any different than what we use now (what goes up must come down, at equilibrium every action has an equal and opposite reaction, object at rest stays at rest until acted upon, etc. etc. etc.)? These are extremely complex phenomena that, if described in layman's terms, cannot be accurately portrayed.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (1)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854863)

These are extremely complex phenomena that, if described in layman's terms, cannot be accurately portrayed.

Unless you had an Etch A Sketch handy. In which case, so accurate, you have created a new, carbon copy universe on the screen.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (2, Interesting)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854613)

I bet you believe in creationism too, huh?

I understand the argument you're making, it's the old 'if it's a horse, it's a horse; not a zebra' argument. However, physicists are not willy-nilly declaring stuff dark matter because that's what they want to find. There is actually a lot of hard-core science to support what you call

outlandish conclusions(black holes, wormholes, dark matter, dark energy, big bang, parallel universes, etc.)

The fact that YOU don't understand it is more a statement about yourself, not the science.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854689)

The fact that YOU don't understand it is more a statement about yourself, not the science.

Pot calling kettle black. Show me one human being who truly understands the mechanism of movement. Dark matter and dark energy are inventions that physicists conjured up in order to hide the fact that their current theory of gravity (GR) is falsified. That's all. When they truly understand gravity and movement, then they'll have a leg to stand on. In the meantime, it's no better than creationism.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855057)

And what precisely is the observation or experiment that falsifies General Relativity?

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855227)

Not that I'm trying to defend the parent poster (because I disagree with him), but while I'll say that GR is not truly falsified, but it is probably incomplete. The biggest problems are quantum gravity and spacetime singularities. See this discussion [wikipedia.org] , which includes details about Hawking radiation, black holes, dark matter and so forth.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (0, Troll)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854991)

Please explain it to us. If you can't see it, and can't feel it, it don't exist. I see little hard core science in astronomy. That's why I dropped that major.

Re:Kinda Reminds Me of the Face on Mars (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856485)

Are you for real? I can't see or feel carbon dioxide, it must be a myth! Things don't wait for our technology to catch up to them before they start existing, just because we couldn't see bacteria until we invented microscopes doesn't mean they didn't exist before then.

Great stuff (1)

DanoTime (677061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854483)

This is really interesting, I'd never even heard of the studies they were performing until now and I found the link - as spock would say... fascinating. (raise eyebrow at the appropriate time) What a boon for LSU physics department! I guess the school isn't so Mickey Mouse after all... http://www.lsu.edu/ [lsu.edu]

Re:Great stuff (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 5 years ago | (#25857049)

LSU physics doesn't suck. They have 8 faculty working on aspects of general relativity, whereas most departments don't even have one — due partly to their proximity to the LIGO gravitational wave observatory.

FTL Particles (1)

xonar (1069832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854513)

Do these particles travel faster than light? Could it be used as a form of communication? IS it used as a form of communication?

Re:FTL Particles (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855297)

No, no, and the last question is probably a no, but you could elaborate on what "it" refers to for a more definite answer.

Information cannot propagate faster than the speed of light. The speed of light is an absolute limit.

Re:FTL Particles (2, Informative)

xonar (1069832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855339)

What about theoretical particles like tachyons? I was not sure if the article referred to anti-electrons commonly associated w/ anti-matter collisions (or is that a matter-antimatter collision). I am also not familiar with the basic nature of said particles, as I have only a casual interest in such physics. I was also stoned when I wrote that, the thought of aliens using a galactic standard FTL data transmission technique (unbeknownst to humanity, yet), peaqued my interest.

Re:FTL Particles (2, Informative)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855753)

Being stoned is pretty good.

The short answer is that that tachyons can't transmit information. The short explanation is that Einstein's theories prevent it.

Anything with mass cannot reach the speed of light; it would require an infinite amount of energy. Anything without mass travels at the speed of light. Tachyons are obtained by throwing imaginary numbers into the mix.

Dark matter is thought to be matter that does not interact with other matter except gravitationally. We don't have much of an idea what that would look like, but it would obey the rest of the physical laws as we understand them.

If you have any other questions I can try to answer them. Wikipedia has a good article on faster-than-light [wikipedia.org] .

Also, I hope that you don't mind me correcting you, but the the word is 'piqued'.

LHC (1)

theonewho (686963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854673)

hi,

a ~650 GeV parent would, in a final state including leptons,
possibly be in reach of ATLAS and CMS at LHC if it can be
produced in high-energy quark and/or gluon interactions

cheers,
kevin

Are you kidding ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25854675)

How is 3000 light years away CLOSE to our solar system ??

Friggin' Alpha Centauri is only 4.4 light years away, and thats not really CLOSE by any stretch of the imagination.

Our entire galaxy is 100,000 light years across and we are 26,000 light years from the galactic center, so ACTUALLY this dark matter is about 1/8 of the distance between us and the CENTER OF THE GALAXY .... YEAH, real close, brainiac!

Well, it is relative (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856085)

Considering there are gazillions of galaxies, and each of them are farther than our own galaxy's center, it is damn close.

Think of it this way: 3000 lightyears means, if that dark matter comes this direction maximum speed (at the speed of light), we have only 3000 years to try and avoid it.

There is no such thing (2, Insightful)

American Scum (1126015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25854745)

I still believe that 'dark matter' is only a temporary constant inserted into an equation modern scientists don't truly understand.

In time they will discover what is causing the effects of this 'dark matter' - it will not be super strange matter, nor another form of matter, but will be either a change in the overall calculations of our universe's energy or it will be some type of substance that was not accounted for.

Theorists throw in some offbeat number to the calculation every 30 years or so to account for what they just can't figure out.

Re:There is no such thing (2, Interesting)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855523)

Well *something* is warping spacetime this way and that, and that's what they call dark matter and dark energy respectively. Now the question is what does the warping.

Re:There is no such thing (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855811)

You probably mistake dark energy [wikipedia.org] for dark matter [wikipedia.org] . Dark energy is indeed most probably a cosmological constant [wikipedia.org] and related to the energy of universe. Dark matter is completely different thing - it's an invisible mass causing anomalous speed distribution of the galaxies in the clusters, stars in the galaxies and most spectacular - shape of the Bullet Cluster [wikipedia.org]

Big whoopie (1)

Konster (252488) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855131)

Big deal. I find dark matter every time I turn out the lights.

This is science?

I believe I speak for us all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25855195)

pics or it didn't happen.

I have some dark matter under my bed (1)

Flentil (765056) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855267)

I have some dark matter under my bed. I don't really know what it is without shining a light under there. I only know it's there because when I try to cram in more stuff, it bumps into the dark matter. Silly isn't it? What's more silly is that this is exactly how astronomers classify dark matter. Something they think is there but aren't sure because they can't see it.

Dark matter is not magic. It could be an asteroid belt of non-glowing rocks. That would totally count according to the definition, and is actually one of the more likely explanations of what 'dark matter' really is. It's not all that mysterious. And anyway, it's all based on some mathematical calculation of how much mass they think is floating around in space. If the math is wrong, the whole thing could be a complete fantasy. So no big deal, really.

Re:I have some dark matter under my bed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25856017)

Are you retarded? It's not called "dark" matter because it's dark in color. It's a theoretical particle that is largely assumed to exist because it explains several things that otherwise would go unaccounted for in our current physics model. But I'm sure your independent armchair research beats that of some of the world's top minds, and people who have been doing this for years and know what they're talking about.

What's dark matter anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25855351)

So what's the difference between dark matter, normal matter, and antimatter? Is dark matter just normal matter that's really...dark? Then it would absorb all visible light but it would have to emit infrared wouldn't it?

I worked with Dr. Guzik and Dr. Wefel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25855655)

I thought some of you Slashdotters would find it interesting that I actually worked very closely with Dr. Guzik and Dr. Wefel on a related experiment last year at LSU. I had the privilege of talking with them quite a bit about their ATIC experiment and I must say, they are one talented group of scientists. Looks like I'll need to get my hands on a copy of this paper!

Correction (1)

AlanS2002 (580378) | more than 5 years ago | (#25855717)

The universe is believed to be composed of about 25% dark matter, but there has been little evidence of it. This discovery, if correct, would be the first.

No it would be evidence of "a large amount of high energy cosmic rays".

Pfft, theres closer than that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25855997)

I had some dark matter in the toilet earlier today

3000 light years??? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 5 years ago | (#25856379)

meh... come back and wake me up when it gets to 300 light years...

on a secondary note, I wonder if the solar system has passed through several "clouds" of this stuff during its lifetime? Could explain major die-offs on Earth...

Re:3000 light years??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25856859)

on a secondary note, I wonder if the solar system has passed through several "clouds" of this stuff during its lifetime? Could explain major die-offs on Earth...

Based on what?

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