Dark Matter Detector Identifies Unknown Signal

While many astronomers throughout the world are struggling to understand what dark matter is made of, the good news is that they don’t stop searching for answers. Dark matter is far more prevalent in the Universe than normal matter – about 27% comparing to just 5%. The rest of the Universe’s mass is composed of dark energy.

The XENON1T detector has been used by physicists from the University of Chicago, the University of Zurich, and the University of California, San Diego. The tool has detected a new insight in the data that cannot be explained by the current models.

Professor Luca Grandi, who is a study co-author, offered some compelling explanation:

An excess signal is always something exciting! Sometimes you discover that the excess is just due to an unknown background, or it may be a sign of a fundamental new discovery about our universe,

What we see is a solid and significant excess above our expectations; however, XENON1T is not sensitive enough to discriminate between the various potential origins.

Scientists perform much analysis for predicting what backgrounds are present in the XENON1T detector, along with their predicted rates and energies. After examining the data gathered, the scientists involved concluded that the signal was above the predicted background at low energies and cannot be explained by any existing models.

Besides being much more prevalent than the usual matter that we interact with every second, dark matter has a significant role in the Cosmos: it possesses gravitational effects that are necessary for explaining the rotation of galaxies, the movement of clusters, and the largest scale-structure from the entire Universe. Each of the three known forms of matter is equally important for the existence of the Cosmos, and therefore: for ours.

XENON is a collaboration project of over 160 scientists from across the world who are aiming to unveil the mysteries of dark matter.

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