One long-standing explanation for this mystery, known as the direct-collapse theory, hypothesizes that ancient black holes somehow got big without the benefit of a supernova stage. Now a pair of researchers at Western University in Ontario, Canada—Shantanu Basu and Arpan Das—have found some of the first solid observational evidence for the theory. As they described late last month in The Astrophysical Journal Letters , they did it by looking at quasars.
'Fuzzy' dark matter theory simulated fully for the first time
Quasars are supermassive black holes that continuously suck in, or accrete, large amounts of matter; they get a special name because the stuff falling into them emits bright radiation, making them easier to observe than many other kinds of black holes. The distribution of their masses—how many are bigger, how many are smaller, and how many are in between—is the main indicator of how they formed. After analyzing that information, Basu and Das proposed that the supermassive black holes might have arisen from a chain reaction.
Each time one of the nascent black holes accreted matter, it would radiate energy, which would heat up neighboring gas clouds.
A hot gas cloud collapses more easily than a cold one; with each big meal, the black hole would emit more energy, heating up other gas clouds, and so on. Such a scenario would imply that dark matter cannot clump much in our solar system, or else the solar system would be much hotter. Still, Siegel thinks, as the solar system plows through the galaxy, it could be accreting additional dark matter. As of now, the existence of any dark matter in the solar system remains as mysterious as its presence everywhere else.
Paparazzi Physics Physicists are so eager for any new data about dark matter that some will literally snap at anything.
Earlier this year rumors abounded that the latest results from the PAMELA satellite mission, launched in , revealed dark matter interactions with normal matter. But the researchers in charge of the mission did not share their findings beyond flashes of slides at conferences. Cirelli notes he did so with permission from the speaker there. So far Cirelli and others have released more than half a dozen online papers referencing the slides. Some scientists condemned the paparazzi physics, fearing it might jeopardize journal publication of the data; some defended it because the data was obtained thanks to public funding.
Note: This article was originally printed with the title, "Neighborhood Darkness". You have free article s left. Subscribe Now Subscribe Now. Final Say. Long reads. Lib Dems. US Politics. Theresa May. Jeremy Corbyn. Robert Fisk. Mark Steel. Janet Street-Porter. John Rentoul. Chuka Ummuna. Shappi Khorsandi.
Gina Miller. Our view. Sign the petition. Spread the word. Steve Coogan. Rugby union. Motor racing.
Mystery of the Universe's Missing Matter Finally Solved by Scientists
US sports. Rugby League. Movers List. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Explainer videos. Sport videos.
- Navigation menu.
- Que serait le tourisme sans pétrole ? (Tourismes et sociétés) (French Edition).
- The Search for Answers in a Dark Universe;
- Cant Hardly Sleep?
- The Marriage Market (Short Story).
- What Do We Really Know About the Universe?!
Black Friday. Money transfers.
Health insurance. Money Deals. The Independent Books. Voucher Codes. Just Eat. National Trust. Premium Articles.
What We Study
Subscription offers. Subscription sign in. Read latest edition. UK Edition. US Edition. Log in using your social network account. Please enter a valid password.