Nucleon Structure and Strong Interactions in Dark Matter Capture in Neutron Stars
© MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images
If neutron stars are to be used to detect elusive dark matter, two neglected effects will need to be factored in.
The matter we see around us makes up only 15% of the Universe’s mass — the other 85% comes from mysterious dark matter. Because dark matter interacts with normal matter almost entirely via gravity, it is incredibly difficult to detect. But the massively high densities of neutron stars could allow them to be used to detect dark matter.
Now, a team that included two researchers from the University of Adelaide has shown that calculations need to include two neglected effects pertinent to neutron stars.
One effect is the acceleration of dark matter to speeds close to that of light by the gravitational pull of neutron stars. The other effect is the interactions between neutrons in the star via the strong nuclear force.
Including these two factors could alter the rate at which neutron stars capture dark matter by thousands of times.
- Physical Review Letters 127, 111803 (2021). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.127.111803
|The University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Australia||0.50|
|The University of Adelaide (Adelaide Uni), Australia||0.33|
|Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK), Germany||0.17|