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Possible sign of dark matter shows up again

X-ray signal from Milky Way’s halo eliminates some alternate explanations

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8:00am, January 30, 2017
Chandra telescope

X-RAY ANOMALY  NASA’s Earth-orbiting Chandra telescope has found hints of a mysterious bump in a plot of X-rays. Scientists think the excess X-rays may be the result of decaying dark matter particles.

A strange X-ray signal has popped up again in new measurements, raising hopes that it could be a sign of dark matter.

Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory reveal an excess of X-rays at a particular energy, creating a bump on a plot, scientists report online at arXiv.org on January 29. The X-ray “line,” as it is known, could reveal the presence of dark matter — an unknown substance that scientists believe constitutes most of the matter in the cosmos.

While the X-ray line has been found previously using several different telescopes, some searches have come up empty (SN: 9/3/16, p. 17). The new observation strengthens the case that the odd feature is real, and eliminates some possible mundane explanations.

“This is a very exciting thing,” says astrophysicist Nico

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