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Dark matter candidate particles are a no-show in Hitomi data

Satellite fails to find previously reported X-rays from galaxy cluster

By
10:24am, August 12, 2016
Perseus galaxy cluster

X-rays from the Perseus galaxy cluster (pictured) could have been a signpost for dark matter particles, but the Hitomi satellite turned up no sign of the radiation.

Before the demise of Japan’s latest X-ray satellite, Hitomi, the probe might have put to rest speculation about radiation from dark matter in a cache of galaxies.

In 2014 astronomers reported that several galaxy clusters appeared to inexplicably produce X-ray photons with energies of about 3.5 kiloelectron volts. The researchers suggested that the radiation could be coming from the decay of sterile neutrinos — hypothetical particles that are one candidate for the elusive dark matter that is thought to bind galaxies and clusters together.

Before the Hitomi X-ray satellite (aka ASTRO-H) failed on March 26, it got a look at the

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