by Staff Writers
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain (SPX) Mar 07, 2017
The nature of the dark matter which apparently makes up 80% of the mass of the particles in the universe is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of present day sciences.
The lack of experimental evidence, which could allow us to identify it with one or other of the new elementary particles predicted by the theorists, as well as the recent discovery of gravitational waves coming from the merging of two black holes (with masses some 30 times that of the Sun) by LIGO the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) have revived interest in the possibility that dark matter might take the form of primordial black holes with masses between 10 and 1000 times that of the Sun.
Primordial black holes, which would have originated in high density fluctuations of matter during the first moments of the Universe, are in principle very interesting. As opposed to those which form from stars, whose abundance and masses are limited by models of stellar formation and evolution, primordial black holes could exist with a wide range of masses and abundances.
They would be found in the halos of galaxies, and the occasional meeting between two of them having masses 30 times that of the Sun, followed by a subsequent merger, might have given rise to the gravitational waves detected by LIGO.
This effect, known as "gravitational microlensing" is bigger the bigger the mass of the black hole, and the probability of detecting it would be bigger the more the presence of these black holes. So although the black holes themselves cannot be directly detected, they would be detected by increases in the brightness of observed quasars.
On this assumption, a group of scientists has used the microlensing effect on quasars to estimate the numbers of primordial black holes of intermediate mass in galaxies. The study, led by the researcher at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), Evencio Mediavilla Gradolph, shows that normal stars like the Sun cause the microlensing effects, thus ruling out the existence of a large population of primordial black holes with intermediate mass.
In addition they have estimated that these microlenses form roughly 20% of the total mass of a galaxy, equivalent to the mass expected to be found in stars. So their results show that, with high probability, it is normal stars and not primordial intermediate mass black holes which are responsible for the observed microlensing.
"This study implies "says Evencio Mediavilla, "that it is not at all probable that black holes with masses between 10 and 100 times the mass of the Sun make up a significant fraction of the dark matter". For that reason the black holes whose merging was detected by LIGO were probably formed by the collapse of stars, and were not primordial black holes".
Astronomers participating in this research include Jorge Jimenez-Vicente and Jose Calderon-Infante (University of Granada) and Jose A. Munoz Lozano, and Hector Vives-Arias, (University of Valencia).
New Haven CT (SPX) Mar 03, 2017
A Yale-led team has produced one of the highest-resolution maps of dark matter ever created, offering a detailed case for the existence of cold dark matter - sluggish particles that comprise the bulk of matter in the universe. The dark matter map is derived from Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields data of a trio of galaxy clusters that act as cosmic magnifying glasses to peer into older ... read more
Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It
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