Searching For The Missing Fifth Force Of Nature Continues In The Core Of Milky Way

First Posted: May 31, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

Physicists have long been driven by the existence of the fifth force of nature, which is linked to dark matter, in which most of the mass of the universe is accounted for. They are searching for it continuously. Currently, they are searching it in the core of the Milky Way.

The scientists examined images of the center of the Milky Way that were taken by the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. With this, the team could trace the orbits of the stars near the Milky Way galaxy's supermassive black hole. They could also gauge the direct impact of gravity on the movement of stars. 

Andrea Ghez, the director of the University of California, Los Angeles Galactic Center Group, and her team theorized that the best place to search for the hypothetical fifth force of nature would be somewhere in the universe, in which the impact of gravity is so powerful, and signs of something extra will be easy to identify, according to Science Alert.

Ghez said that it is exciting and their work on studying stars at the center of Milky way is opening a new method of looking at how gravity works. She further said that by watching the stars move over 20 years using very accurate calculations taken from Keck Observatory data, one could perceive and out constraints on how gravity works.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Feng, the lead author of this study that was printed in the Physical Review Letters, said that if confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force could completely change the understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter. He further said that it will still be a long way to determining the existence of this force. On the other hand, this new technique will be the first time scientists have ever examined the gravitational field as powerful as generated by the supermassive black hole.

The fifth force is the hypothetical force added to the fundamental forces such as the gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces. These are interactions that develop the basis of all known interactions in nature.

It is postulated that the fifth force is roughly the strength of gravity and to have a range from less than a millimeter to cosmological scales. It is also theorized that a subatomic particle in the dark matter could be linked to the unknown form of matter known as dark matter.

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