The elusive dark matter, but it accounts for 80% of the mass of the universe, It can be detected by measuring its effect on the temperature of exoplanets. Two astrophysicists’ research published in Physical Review Letters shows this.
“We think there should be about 300 billion exoplanets discovered.”Juri Smirnov, a researcher at Ohio State University’s Center for Astrophysics and Cosmology, explained.
“Even finding and studying a few of them can make us A lot of information about dark matter that we don’t know now”He added.
Rebecca Leane, a postdoctoral researcher at the SLAC accelerator at Stanford University and co-author Smirnov of the paper, said that when the gravity of an exoplanet captures dark matter, the dark matter travels to the planet’s nucleus, which “destroys” and releases it. Dark matter. Energy, in the form of heat. The more dark matter that is captured, the more heat the exoplanet must heat up.
This warming can be measured with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, Infrared telescope scheduled to launch in October It will be able to measure the temperature of distant exoplanets.
“If exoplanets have abnormal heating related to dark matter, We should be able to detect it”, Dijo Smirnov (Dijo Smirnov).
Smirnov said that exoplanets are particularly useful for detecting light dark matter, which is dark matter with a smaller mass. Researchers have not tested light-colored dark matter through direct detection or other experiments.
Scientists think The density of dark matter increases toward the center of our galaxy. If so, researchers should find that the closer the planet is to the center of the Milky Way, the greater its temperature rise.
“If we find something similar, it will be amazing. Obviously, we will find dark matter“Smirnov said.
Smirnov and Leane proposed a search method that included a closer look at the earth, gas giants, The so-called “super Jupiters” and brown dwarfs are looking for signs of warming caused by dark matter. One advantage of using planets like this as a dark matter detector is that they do not have nuclear fusion like stars, so there is less “background heat”, so it is difficult to find dark matter signals.
In addition to local searches, Researchers suggest looking for remote rogue exoplanets that no longer orbit the star. The lack of radiation from stars will again reduce interference that may obscure dark matter signals.
One of the best parts of using exoplanets as dark matter detectors is No need for any new instruments, such as telescopes or unfinished searches, Dijo Smirnov (dijo Smirnov).
Till now, Researchers have identified more than 4,300 confirmed exoplanets, and are currently investigating another 5,695 candidate planets. Gaia, the space observatory of the European Space Agency, is expected to find thousands of potential candidates in the next few years.