05:08 GMT15 June 2021
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    The gamma ray glow in question was detected by the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope in 2008. For years, astronomers have been trying to figure it out. After endless debate, a theory has been proposed that explains the unexpected surplus of gamma ray radiation known as the Galactic Centre GeV Excess.

    A new study has ruled out that dark matter consists of weakly interactive massive particles (WIMPs), the most promising candidate for the mysterious matter that astrophysicists say constitutes up to 23 percent of the universe.

    Scientists previously thought that the mysterious glow observed at the heart of our galaxy is produced by self-annihilating dark matter.

    Researchers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have run simulation models to test this hypothesis. According to the findings of the study, published on 20 August in the journal Physical Review D, the gamma ray radiation observed in the Milky Way could not have been produced by WIMPs.

    "For 40 years or so, the leading candidate for dark matter among particle physicists was a thermal, weakly interacting and weak-scale particle, and this result for the first time rules out that candidate up to very high-mass particles", said Kevork Abazajian, UCI professor of physics and astronomy.

    At the same time, the scientists do not rule out that dark matter could be producing the mysterious glow, but note that the gamma ray radiation could be produced by other astrophysical phenomena.

    "We looked at all of the different modeling that goes on in the Galactic Center, including molecular gas, stellar emissions and high-energy electrons that scatter low-energy photons", said Oscar Macia, co-author of the study.

    What is dark matter?

    Dark matter doesn’t emit, reflect or absorb light - it is invisible. However, astrophysicists say that this form of matter plays a crucial role in the evolution of our universe.

    "There are a lot of alternative dark matter candidates out there. The search is going to be more like a fishing expedition where you don't already know where the fish are", said astrophysicist Abazajian of the University of California, Irvine.
    Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPS), Milky Way, universe, dark matter
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