Study suggests dark matter near the sun
Large amounts of invisible “dark matter” may have been discovered near the sun.
The mysterious substance exerts a gravitational influence on thousands of dwarf stars in our galactic neighbourhood, a study suggests.
Dark matter is thought to make up about 70 per cent of the universe, yet it cannot be seen or detected directly.
Scientists only know it exists because of the way its gravity affects other material.
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, appears to be surrounded by a massive "halo" of dark matter, but now new evidence indicates there are large quantities of it closer to home.
Dr Silvia Garbari, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, said: "We are 99% confident that there is dark matter near the sun. In fact, our favoured dark matter density is a little high.
"If future data confirm this high value, the implications are exciting."
The Swiss scientists measured local dark matter density by studying the positions and movements of thousands of orange K dwarf stars near the sun.
No-one knows what dark matter is made of, but physicists suspect it consists of fundamental particles that interact only very weakly with normal matter.
Professor George Lake, also from the University of Zurich, said: "Knowing the local properties of dark matter is the key to revealing just what kind of particle it consists of."
The research will appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Exclusive: Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
Seeing the larger picture: Inspiring images of space
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.