UNAM researchers unveil new information on dark matter

That might explain the presence of positrons in the Earth
Photo: Elizabeth Ruiz/Cuartooscuro.com
17/11/2017
12:58
Newsroom
Mexico City
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Today, at a press conference held at the Astronomy Institute (Instituto de Astronomía abbreviated IA) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México abbreviated UNAM), Magdalena González Sánchez, Head of the HAWC Gamma-Ray Observatory (High Altitude Water Cherenkov), explained that pulsars or neutron stars could be one of the main sources of a large number of the positrons (antiparticle of the electron) that arrive at the Earth.

For a long time, pulsars had been studied, yet according to the analyzes made from the Sierra Negra volcano, in Puebla, these stars are not the main positron source to our planet.

It is known that positrons occur in the Cosmos due to the interaction between cosmic rays (atomic nuclei) and interstellar gas near our Solar System, but they lose their energy very fast.

Pulsars emit electrons and positrons, which, when they hit the surrounding medium, give rise to gamma rays that can be detected by HAWC.

Mexican scientists reviewed the Geminga and Monogem pulsars, 800 light-years away from us in the Gemini constellation, and recently discovered in the Crab's supernova a new pulsar that has been called HAWC J0543 + 0233.

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Photo: Taken from UNAM

Their analysis revealed that the number of positrons that reach the Earth is too small to explain the large quantities, so new theories have arisen on their possible origin.

"One of the theories that explain the excess of these particles is dark matter, "said González Sánchez.

Another theory suggests that near the Earth there could be another object or star that produce gamma rays from dark matter annihilation.

Their findings are presented in an article published in the Science journal.

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