Space

Theory suggests that "hairs" of dark matter may exist around planets

Theory suggests that "hairs" o...
Long filaments of dark matter could one day provide a means of mapping the characteristics of distant planets
Long filaments of dark matter could one day provide a means of mapping the characteristics of distant planets
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According to the simulation, the roots of the filaments around Jupiter (pictured) are almost 1 trillion times denser than the original stream of particles
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According to the simulation, the roots of the filaments around Jupiter (pictured) are almost 1 trillion times denser than the original stream of particles
These hair-like structures, many of which may be present around our own planet, have "roots" where the dark matter is most concentrated, some billion times more than average
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These hair-like structures, many of which may be present around our own planet, have "roots" where the dark matter is most concentrated, some billion times more than average
Long filaments of dark matter could one day provide a means of mapping the characteristics of distant planets
3/3
Long filaments of dark matter could one day provide a means of mapping the characteristics of distant planets
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A new theory from NASA's JetPropulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, suggests thatdark matter may interact with planets, forminglong filaments or "hairs" of invisible particles. Studying thesehairs could be scientifically fruitful, deepening our knowledge ofthe elusive matter, and even using them to analyze distant planetarybodies.

Dark matter is extremely prevalent,with current theories estimating that it makes up around 27 percentof all matter and energy in the entire Universe. It's a very common and extremely important area of study, with past research examining everything from its very nature to how it might play a role in mass extinction events.

The other big characteristic of dark matter is that it's extremelydifficult to detect. While the effects of its gravitational pullmake us certain that it exists, we've never actually successfullyobserved it.

So, why is it so hard to detect? Well,current theories suggest that it doesn't move around as much asnormal matter, and that it's "dark" in that it doesn't interactwith or produce any light at all.

Despite its illusive nature, darkmatter is thought to have a huge impact on the Universe. The visiblematter that makes up stars, planets and entire galaxies forms as areaction to fluctuations in the density of dark matter, while gravityholds the visible and invisible matter together.

These hair-like structures, many of which may be present around our own planet, have "roots" where the dark matter is most concentrated, some billion times more than average
These hair-like structures, many of which may be present around our own planet, have "roots" where the dark matter is most concentrated, some billion times more than average

Decades-old calculations suggested thatdark matter forms streams of particles all moving at the samevelocity. These streams can be huge – as large as entire solarsystems – and are laced out amongst the visible matter of galaxies.

The JPL researchers used computersimulations to demonstrate what might happen when one of thesestreams interacts with a planet. While a physical object such as aplanet would stop ordinary matter in its tracks, dark matterparticles pass straight through it, affected only by the gravity ofthe object, which according to the simulations, focuses the streaminto a narrow and extremely dense filament.

These hair-like structures, many ofwhich may be present around our own planet, have "roots" wherethe dark matter is most concentrated, some billion times more thanaverage. On more massive planets the elevated density is even morepronounced. For example, the roots of the filaments around Jupiterare almost 1 trillion times denser than the original stream ofparticles.

These roots are located pretty far outfrom the objects they surround – some 600,000 miles (1 million km)in the case of Earth. If we were able to pinpoint their location thenit might even be possible to to send a probe out to attempt to gatherdata on the invisible particles.

The computer simulations revealed oneother fascinating insight into the potential behavior of dark matter,and it's one that could help us analyze distant planets. According tothe simulation, when the particles pass through a planet, the changesin density directly affect the structure of the filaments, creatingkinks at the transition points between different layers of the Earth.

As our understanding of dark matterimproves, it might one day be possible to detect those kinks,allowing astronomers to look at distant planetary bodies and map outtheir layers from afar, gaining insights into their structures andeven the depths of their oceans.

Source: NASA

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4 comments
2_OK
Well! I look at this dark mater thing, and remember one thins I have heard it makes me think like this. When you observe planets spinning around sun, and compare it with galaxy going around the center you have need to believe that it is due to dark mater. However when you compare that thing to cherries in bucket and with water inside, then you spin it from the center with your finger and then you compare that with observed stars in the galaxy you do not need dark mater for that one, any more,
and yes big bang it was a big puff! The rest of the model coming soon!
Grainpaw
Here's an observation that somebody needs to research. Dark matter can be controlled by cats. Anyone who has held a cat knows that they can mysteriously weigh more than they nominally do. When a cat steps on you and almost leaves a bruise, that's the dark matter in action. When a cat stares into space like it's getting a transmission from the mother ship, it's tapping into the dark matter. I am almost ready to retire. I could work on this full time if I had a grant. Perhaps an array of cats on a Mobius pyramid could serve as a collector...
Douglas Bennett Rogers
The gravity from the dark matter would bend light. The self-gravity should cause clumping and dense bodies, even black holes.
amazed W1
The things about dark matter that always worry are that it is postulated as being virtually undetectable, and certainly not directly so, and no experimental verification, full sized or modelled is possible. Then there is a considerable intellectual and equally untestable construct of unverifiable sub-ideas resting on the primary theory.
This is certainly not the way science should move, and it makes embarrassing parallels with mediaeval theories about everything from angels to flat earths to the centre of the universe. The worst of these parallels is that everybody follows the views of the selected few, who just happen to be in the position to rubbish and destroy anybody offering alternative ideas. The politics are identical and the near hysteria is matched only by reactions to theories that man-made CO2 is not the sole cause of global warming.
Peer review is meaningless in this intellectual climate and one begins to wonder why the alternatives such as forces between plasma fields making up the difference between pure gravity and what is observed astrophysically. Was it Edward(?) Thompson/Thomson (?) who suggested this and carried out miniature (i.e. lab sized) experiments that demonstrated what at the very least is a comparable analogy as attractive and repulsive forces. Also given Einstein's theories, are matter, plasma, and electromagnetic happenings so very different anyway?