Astronomers May Have Detected Signals Of Dark Matter From Andromeda Galaxy

First Posted: Feb 23, 2017 10:49 PM EST

Signals possibly coming from the mysterious dark matter was detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. While scientists still find the existence of dark matter elusive, further studies on this new discovery may shed light on the long unsolved mystery.

Deccan Chronicle reported that signals were detected from Milky Way's neighboring Andromeda galaxy. The signal, which scientists say is similar to the ones detected in the Milky Way in 2014, may have indicated the presence of dark matter -- the unknown substance that comprises 96 percent of the universe.

These signals are called Gamma rays -- the highest form of light produced when particles near the speed of light collide with gas clouds and starlight. Found in galaxies like Milky Way, these signals are usually spread throughout the star cluster.

However, the gamma rays found in Andromeda dubbed as M31 are strangely confined at the center of the galaxy. Scientists theorized that they may have come from some unknown sources, which brought them back to the mystery of dark matter.

According to French astrophysicist Pierrick Martin, they believe that dark matter accumulates in the innermost regions of the Milky Way and other galaxies. The discovery of M31 was exciting for their team at the National Centre for Scientific Research and the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology,  as it paves the way to understanding dark matter in Andromeda and the Milky Way.

"Our galaxy is so similar to Andromeda, it really helps us to be able to study it, because we can learn more about our galaxy and its formation," said study's co-author Regina Caputo, as quoted by Silicon Republic

Another theory is that these gamma rays may also come from an extremely dense concentration of pulsars at the center of the galaxy. These neutron stars have a mass twice the size of the Sun and a single teaspoon of matter would weigh about a billion tons.

This study was published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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