Scientists went looking for dark matter and ended up finding dark energy

(dv) UC Davis

A team of scientists went looking for dark matter and may have found dark energy instead. Investigators want to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

A dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that would be distributed throughout Space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the Universe. It’s a little-known (but unavoidable) form of energy that permeates space — in total, it represents about 68% of the density of the Universe.

A new study reports that some unexplained results of the XENON1T experiment in Italy may have been caused by dark energy and not by dark matter that the experiment is designed to detect.

“Although both are invisible, we know a lot more about dark matter since its existence was suggested in the early 1920s, while dark energy was not discovered until 1998. Large-scale experiments like XENON1T were designed to directly detect dark matter looking for signs of dark matter ‘reaching’ ordinary matter, but dark energy is even more elusive,” said lead author of the study, Sunny Vagnozzi, cited by Tech Explorist.

O XENON1T detected an unexpected signal, or overflow. Study co-author Luca Visinelli says, “These excesses are often casualties, but from time to time they can also lead to fundamental discoveries.”

“We are exploring a model in which this signal can be attributed to dark energy, rather than the dark matter that the experiment was originally designed to detect,” explained the researcher. National Laboratories of Frascati, in Italy.

The model used by scientists showed that energy particles produced in the sun’s intense magnetic fields could explain the excess of the XENON1T experiment.

Through this model, scientists also showed what would happen in the detector if dark energy were produced in a specific region of the Sun, called the tachoclin, where the magnetic fields are powerful.

“It was surprising that this excess could, in principle, have been caused by dark energy rather than dark matter. When things fit together like that, it’s really special”, said Vagnozzi still.

Now, researchers want to make sure that what the XENON1T experiment detected was not a fluke. If that’s the case, the researchers hope to “see a similar excess again in future experiments, but this time with a much stronger signal.”

The article was published recently in the scientific journal Physical Review D.

Daniel Costa, ZAP //

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