Fermi telescope may change its mission to `dark matter` hunting

Last Updated: Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 11:08

London: The Fermi space telescope may help solve one of physics` greatest mysteries - "dark matter".

The telescope, which was designed to catch gamma rays, has seen hints of evidence for dark matter in high-energy gamma rays seen at the galaxy`s centre.

Julie McEnery, project scientist for the Fermi mission, said on the BBC World Service programme Science in Action that a deepening dark matter mystery has sparked the call for proposals to change the telescope`s mission.

Fermi has been a tremendous success at examining some of the most high-energy processes in the cosmos, publishing a catalogue filled with details of the spinning neutron stars known as pulsars, and a wide array of "active galactic nuclei" - probably supermassive black holes .

The most popular theory holds that dark matter is made up of relatively heavy particles which, when they encounter one another, "annihilate" with a flash of light that the Fermi telescope can see.

Dr McEnery is confident that the Fermi mission will lead to evidence for dark matter.

In addition, a range of experiments on Earth, deep beneath the surface, are aiming to detect dark matter more directly by catching its rare interactions with normal matter. (


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First Published: Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 11:07

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