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Ask Ethan: Could Dark Matter Not Be A Particle, At All?

10 Mar 2018, 15:01 UTC
Ask Ethan: Could Dark Matter Not Be A Particle, At All?
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Even though the majority of dark matter in the galaxy exists in a vast halo engulfing us, each individual dark matter particle makes an elliptical orbit under the influence of gravity. If dark matter is its own antiparticle, and we learn how to harness it, it may be the ultimate source of free energy. (ESO / L. Calçada)We always assume that dark matter is particle-based, and we just need to find which particle it is. But what if it isn’t so?Everything we’ve ever detected in the Universe, from matter to radiation, can be broken down into its smallest constituents. Everything in this world is made of atoms, which are made of nuclei and electrons, where nuclei themselves are made of quarks and gluons. Light itself is made of particles: photons. Even gravitational waves, in theory, are made of gravitons: particles we may someday be able to create and detect. But what about dark matter? The indirect evidence for its existence is tremendous and overwhelming, but must it, too, be a particle? That’s what our Patreon supporter Darren Redfern wants to know, as he asks:If dark energy can be interpreted as an energy inherent to the fabric of space itself, could ...

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