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Galileo's Pendulum

How a dark matter signal can vanish

30 May 2013, 20:39 UTC
How a dark matter signal can vanish NASA/DOE/International LAT Team
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Last year, scientists looking at data from the orbiting Fermi gamma ray observatory announced they found a possible signal of dark matter particles annihilating each other near the center of the Milky Way. The signal consisted of a spike in the number of gamma ray photons around 130 billion electron volts (130 GeV) in energy. The analysis was based on nearly 4 years of observation, and looked very promising. At the Phenomenology 2013 conference I recently attended, several people based their talks on the specific premise that the 130 GeV signal was not only real, but from dark matter annihilation.
Map of the sky in gamma-ray light, by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Observatory’s Large Area Telescope (LAT). The galactic center, where dark matter annihilation is most likely to produce a signal for the Milky Way, is in the middle of the image. [Credit: NASA/DOE/International LAT Team]However, not everyone was equally excited. There were a few caveats even in the original analysis: for example, the signal was offset from the galactic center by a few degrees, which would be hard to explain based on the expected distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way. Others focused on the problem of dark matter ...

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