Scientists have finally discovered this strange 'ghost' particle from X-rays beaming from dead stars.
A study argues that the "axion" particle may help physicists unravel some of the cosmos' mysteries, including that of dark matter.
A mysterious, unexpected rise in X-rays released by many neutron stars, which are "dead" stars consisting entirely of neutrons, is assumed by researchers to be a hint of axions.
Researchers had the study published in Physical Review Letters.
What is Axion?
Raymond Co, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota, said looking for axions, both in principle and in studies, has become one of the main efforts in high-energy particle physics.
The researchers think that "special" X-rays from a group of neutron stars classified as the Magnificent Seven could be induced by forming axions in the cores of the neutron stars.
The research used a previously proposed hypothesis that axions are produced as residues of colliding neutrons and protons in the center of a neutron star.
It is claimed that the particles then expel out into the intense magnetic field of the star, where they are transformed into photons (light particles) that make up the X-rays observed on Earth by telescopes.
As axions hold far more energy than the photons usually released by these neutron stars, the photons generated from the axions will also yield more energy, explaining the unexplained rise in X-rays.
Why Are They Looking for Axions?
The finding of axions will address several concerns about the mysteries of dark matter and other particle physics.
Axions are often foretold by string theory or the idea that all the powers and objects in the universe are connected together as the same system component.
Christopher Dessert, a co-author of the paper and graduate student in physics at U-M, said axion initially addressed the serious CP problems in the late 1970s. Dessert said negative and positive frequencies of electrical charge inside the neutron are based on the same amount.
He added axion might also serve as dark energy if such a thing exists in the next decade.
As they are "weakly interacting," axions have become enigmatic, implying they seldom interfere with other entities but rather move around them instead.
Dessert said they have spent an unbelievable amount of time testing to see that the signal they could see was genuine. He certainly believes that there is one.
How can We Find Axions?
If it's an axion, we haven't known about a modern astrophysical phenomenon in the neutron star. Although it definitely correlates with the presence of an axion that renders this warning.
Instead of the older XMM-Newton and Chandra telescopes, one way to evaluate the signal source might be to use information from a newer X-ray telescope, NASA's NuSTAR, or Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Series.
Dessert said Chandra and XMM-Newton telescopes could only just see a tiny portion of the signal emanating from the axion if it indeed triggers the signal.
Safdi and his colleagues suggest that it is indeed very likely that a new axion-free mechanism will arise to describe the excess X-rays observed. But they hope that such an interpretation will lie beyond the Conventional Particle Physics Paradigm. Future observations can validate the sources of the high-energy X-ray signal on Earth and in space.
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