Dark Matter At The Center Of The Milky Way

in STEMGeeks4 months ago

A much more exotic monster might be hiding in the center of our galaxy instead of a supermassive black hole. A clump of dark matter made from darkinos could be there instead.


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Image by Lumina Obscura from Pixabay

We all got used to the idea that a supermassive black hole is hiding at the center of our galaxy. It should have a mass of more than 4,000,000 Suns. But over time, this monster became more of a kindhearted mascot, sort of a galactically large panda, and many people like it at this point. But what if there is something much different hiding at the center of the Milky Way.

Eduar Antonio Becerra-Vergara – an astrophysicist from the International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics and his colleagues recently came up with a nice and juicy hypothesis that claims that we have a giant mega-clump of dark matter at the center of our galaxy. The researchers’ fascinating study is based on detailed analyses of the behavior of stars that orbit the extreme conditions around the object at the very center of our Galaxy.

Research of these stars has been a favorite pastime of astrophysicists. And analyses of the orbit of a star named S2 led them to the conclusion that the central object of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole. But then new research came. Research of an object called G2. When G2 reached periapsis – the point where it is closest to the object it orbits – it did something very strange. It sort of elongated into something that looks like a noodle only to collapse into its original shape later.

Nobody expected that! Sadly, we don’t know what G2 exactly is at this point yet more trouble is brewing around it. For example, it seems it is experiencing something akin to aerodynamic resistance. When you take all of that information, the result is that maybe, just maybe, it’s not a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

In 2020, researchers already calculated that the behavior of S2 and G2 fits a different much more exotic model. This model claims that we have a clump of dark matter at the center of our galaxy called a dark matter core. This dark matter core should be made from fermions (particles that belong to the same family as quarks and leptons) at an energy of 56 keV. Becerra-Vergara and his colleagues decided to nickname them darkinos. These darkinos should be light enough so that the central clump of dark matter just doesn’t collapse into a supermassive black hole. That would only happen if there were about a hundred times more darkinos at the center of our galaxy.

So… at current conditions, the darkinos at the heart of our galaxy should work as a giant clump that is surrounded by a sparse mist of darkinos. This mist could actually affect object orbiting very close to the clump and thus create the observed effect that is similar to aerodynamic resistance. This hypothesis is only further confirmed by analyses of 17 best-understood S stars that orbit the central object.

If the researchers are right that not only they maybe allowed us to slightly lift the veil that is hiding the mysteries of dark matter but also maybe contributed to understanding the mystery of supermassive black holes. Supermassive black holes themselves have a problem because we can see them in the very young Universe but at that point, they just couldn’t have had enough time to consume enough matter to become so big. So, Becerra-Vergara and his colleagues propose that supermassive black holes could be created when giant clumps of darkinos collapse when their total mass reaches several billion Suns.

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