In Dark Matter Shock, Astronomers Say Some of It May Have an Electric Charge
It seems like astronomers get to explore all the cool mysteries: What black holes look like, how big the Milky Way is, whether an exoplanet can support life, etc. Unfortunately, the biggest mystery of all is the one no one seems to be able to solve—the nature of dark matter, the stuff that's estimated to make up around 80 percent of the universe.
Fortunately, new research from the acronym-tastic organization called EDGES (Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionisation) Signature) may have a new clue: According to their observations, dark matter may be able to carry a small electrical charge.
Based on observations of cosmic background radiation obtained through two radio telescopes in Australia, the EDGES team has found a small anomaly that suggests some of the "primordial hydrogen" that was created after the Big Bang came into contact with a substance that was slightly colder than itself, leading to produce slightly different radio waves.
The EDGE team hypothesizes that this mystery substance was dark matter that had a very, very small electrical charge.
If this is the case, then dark matter may be similar in structure to normal matter, but composed of "dark" versions of normal atoms (if this sounds familiar, you may be thinking of antimatter, another weird type of matter).
According to Matthew Buckley, a theoretical astrophysicist at Rutgers University, "If true, it would incredibly exciting."
However, this discovery isn't final yet—there's still the chance that the team may have gotten interference from earthly sources, or that their measurements are off.
According to Avi Loeb, the chair of the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University: "The [EDGES] team is very trustworthy and reliable radio observers, but the measurement is very difficult. Until it's confirmed by an independent experiment, I would not be confident that it's real. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."