Dark Andromeda?

Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration and Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey/REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Astronomers recently discovered a stronger-than-expected glow of gamma rays at the center of the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way. The signal has fueled hopes that scientists are zeroing in on a sign of dark matter, which is five times more prevalent than normal matter but has never been detected directly.

Researchers believe that gamma rays—a very energetic form of light—could be produced when hypothetical dark matter particles decay or collide and destroy each other. However, dark matter isn’t the only possible source of the gamma rays. A number of other cosmic processes are known to produce them.

So what do Andromeda’s gamma rays really tell us about dark matter? To find out, Symmetry’s Manuel Gnida talked with Eric Charles and Mattia Di Mauro, two members of the Fermi-LAT collaboration—an international team of researchers that found the Andromeda gamma-ray signal using the Large Area Telescope, a sensitive “eye” for dark matter on NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. … (Symmetry Magazine)

Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration and Bill Schoening, Vanessa Harvey/REU program/NOAO/AURA/NSF

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