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Two Studies Show Possibility of Some Cosmic Rays Existing Due to Dark Matter Collisions

May 18, 2017

Two teams working independently have conducted studies with similar results suggesting the possibility that some of the cosmic rays striking the Earth arise from dark matter particles colliding with one another. One group, a trio of researchers with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, created models simulating conditions both with and without dark matter-produced particles. The other group, a team with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, conducted a study involving the boron-to-carbon ratio in cosmic particles. Both teams have published their results in Physical Review Letters.

Part of the theory surrounding dark matter is the likelihood that if it does, indeed, exist, then it is likely that at least some of it is moving very fast, and if that is the case, then it seems logical to conclude that some of those particles might collide, causing them to break apart. If they do, the thinking goes, then it might be possible that other particles could result, some of which might be detectable. If scientists could detect such particles and were able to attribute them to dark matter, then they could prove that dark matter exists. To that end, the two teams involved in this latest research used data from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) aboard the International Space station to conduct independent studies of possible dark matter particles.

The team in Germany created models meant to depict two very different scenarios, one in which some of the particles detected by the AMS originated with dark matter collisions and the other in which no such particles exist. After making adjustments, the researchers report that the best fit for the observations came from assuming that dark matter particles did exist and that they were likely 80 GeV∕c2.

Meanwhile, the team in China took another approach using the same data. They looked at boron-to-carbon ratios, which can be used to measure how far cosmic rays have traveled before reaching the AMS. Using that data, they created their own model that showed the best explanation for the observations was dark matter particles of approximately 40 and 60 GeV∕c2GeV∕c2 striking the sensor.

Both teams, it should be noted, took certain liberties or made certain assumptions when creating their models, which may or may not be accurate; thus, the work is still purely theoretical. (Phys.org)

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