NASA detects weird x-ray signal 240 million light years away
Friday, June 27, 2014, 2:57 PM - NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton have detected an "unusual" X-ray signal coming from the Perseus galaxy cluster, some 240 million light years away.
The signal appeared as a spike at an X-ray wavelength. According to NASA, it has been seen in over 70 other galaxy clusters as well.
NASA isn't sure what's causing it and says the unidentified wavelength requires "further investigation" to confirm its existence and origin.
"One intriguing possible explanation of this X-ray emission line is that it is produced by the decay of sterile neutrinos, a type of particle that has been proposed as a candidate for dark matter," NASA says on its website.
"While holding exciting potential, these results must be confirmed with additional data to rule out other explanations and determine whether it is plausible that dark matter has been observed."
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Roughly 80 percent of the mass of the universe is made of of material that scientists cannot observe because it neither emits nor absorbs light. The existence of this "dark matter" has been inferred from its gravitational effects of visible matter.
Scientists say there's a good chance that the strange wavelength is something real and not a glitch.
According to NASA, a separate group out of the Netherlands reported evidence of similar energy in the same region of space.
"This strengthens the evidence that the emission line is real and not an instrumental artifact," the space agency says.
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