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Dark matter density in a simulated galaxy halo. Credit: Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics


  

MACHOs and WIMPs
Jul 09, 2010

According to cosmologists, the Universe is made mostly of dark matter and dark energy, but they do not know what either is.

A recent press release opens with this question: "Dark Matter Detected for First Time?" It seems ironic to ask, since what they are "detecting" has been one of the most all pervasive, yet most highly speculative investigations since phlogiston.

In previous Pictures of the Day, it was noted that dark matter is an ad hoc theory, an addendum to the gravity-based model of the Universe. As consensus physics proposes, without adding dark matter there is insufficient gravity in the cosmos to account for galaxies bunching together. Without sufficient mass, they should also have decelerated over the eons instead of moving through space at 90% of light speed.

An exotic form of matter was proposed when astronomers realized that stars traveled around the edge of a spiral galaxy with the same angular velocity as stars close to the center. This was a quandary, since according to Newton's theory they should be slower. Therefore, astronomers assumed that a form of dark matter was imparting extra gravitational energy to the stars. It was called "dark" because the theory states that it cannot be detected, except indirectly.

This unseen matter is said to be sustaining all galaxies, preventing them from flying apart. Over the years, research groups have been trying to reconcile the lack of mass in the Universe, particularly in galaxy clusters, with their recessional velocity. There is not enough gravity in the visible stars and gas clouds to account for that velocity, as well as the consolidation of individual galaxies and clusters.

If dark matter exists, according to physicists, then it ought to be expressed through a particle. After all, gravity is based on mass attraction, so if dark matter is holding the stars in their galactic orbits, and pulling those galaxies into clusters, there must be an invisible particle (or particles) responsible for the effect.

If not particles, then perhaps cold, non-radiating matteróburned-out stars, or large planetsóare exerting their influences on galactic structure. Those "normal" but invisible objects were called MAssive Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs). Telescopes were scheduled to look for stellar occultations caused by MACHOs, but after years of investigation there have been no results. MACHO scientists have recently thrown in the towel, finally acknowledging that MACHOs are not dark matter candidates.

Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) theory has been the chief competitor with MACHO theory for several years. With the demise of the latter theory, scientists have now pinned their hopes on a subatomic particle to account for the necessary gravitational attraction.

In 1999, a consortium of ten research institutions from around the world known as the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) developed a detector that was supposed to "see" the sporadic impacts from WIMPs on other atomic particles.

The CDMS sensor is an array of silicon and germanium crystals that are cooled by liquid helium until they are close to absolute zero. When subatomic particles strike an atomic nucleus in the crystals, it is interpreted as ionization and heat. Since the atomic movement in the sensor is almost stopped, any tiny vibrations caused by a particle's impact are seen as "hits." The sensor has been handicapped by many false readings due to cosmic rays and other ionized particles.

For more than ten years, scientists working on the project have seen nothing to suggest that WIMPs are colliding with the detector. The current press release is simply publicizing further ambiguous results. Are they seeing WIMPs or are they continuing to witness cosmic ray impacts?

From the Electric Universe perspective, electric currents drive the galaxies and their associated stars. Laboratory experiments reveal that the magnetic vortex between twin Birkeland current filaments can create structures that resemble spiral galaxies. Birkeland currents have a longer-range attractive force than gravity, and diminish with the reciprocal of the distance rather than gravity's square of the distance. That alone could account for the anomalous movement of stars as they revolve around the galactic core.

It is the flow of electricity through plasma in space that tends to initiate the effects that we can observe with space-based telescopes and confirm in ground-based research laboratories. It is the electric currents in the cosmos and their associated magnetic fields that should be our focus and not the search for that which can never be found.

Stephen Smith


 

 
 

"The Cosmic Thunderbolt"

YouTube video, first glimpses of Episode Two in the "Symbols of an Alien Sky" series.
 

 

And don't forget: "The Universe Electric"

Three ebooks in the Universe Electric series are now available. Consistently praised for easily understandable text and exquisite graphics.
 
 
 
 
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