PAMELA may have spotted the dark stuff | Science News

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PAMELA may have spotted the dark stuff

Data from an orbiting observatory record more positrons than standard model accounts for

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12:15pm, September 4, 2008
Cosmologists are agog about the possibility that an orbiting observatory may have discovered particles of dark matter — the proposed, invisible material that researchers believe makes up most of the mass of the universe.

At two meetings in August, researchers analyzing data from the Russian-European observatory PAMELA, short for Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics, reported preliminary evidence that the device had recorded more positrons from the Milky Way than could be accounted for by the standard model of elementary particle physics.

At the International Conference on High Energy Physics, held in Philadelphia, PAMELA researcher Mirko Boezio of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Trieste suggested that the surplus of positrons — the electron’s antiparticle, which is equal in mass but opposite in charge — could be accounted for by the annihilation of pairs of dark-matter par

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