For a decade, scientists have been fascinated by a strange light emanating from the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. However, recent research argues that dark matter is to blame.

Milky Way
(Photo: Portrait of our Milky Way galaxy shows a mishmash of gas, charged particles and several types of dust/ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The 'glow' is gamma radiation, which scientists discovered in data from NASA's Fermi space telescope in 2009, WION said.

It's called the Galactic Center GeV Excess (GCE). Recent evidence indicates it's caused by 'dark matter,' a hypothetical type of matter that may account for 80% of the universe's matter.

Dark Matter's Enigma

Gravitational phenomena that can't be explained by normal matter, such as stars, dust, hydrogen, and galaxies, are due to unexplained dark matter. Sputnik News said dark matter, which is invisible to the naked eye, makes up about 80% of all matter in the universe.

As a result, galaxies spin much faster than they could if they were only gravitationally affected by ordinary matter.

However, whatever is causing the extra gravity is beyond the capacity of astronomers to detect directly.

Lisa Goodenough and Dan Hooper proposed in 2009 that if such dark matter particles and their antiparticles collide, a shower of other particles like gamma-ray photons will appear.

Other scientists, on the other hand, dismissed this "shaky" theory.

In 2018, another seemingly possible hypothesis emerged. It was hypothesized that the excess gamma radiation might be caused by ancient, dying stars known as pulsars.

However, the topic of dark matter resurfaced after a new group of astronomers determined that dark matter could emit "clumpy" gamma radiation.

Is Dark Matter Really the Culprit? said researchers analyzed data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) and data from the Pamela detector and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment (AMS-02) onboard the International Space Station.

According to the researchers, the 'glow' from Milky Way's galaxy is triggered by a previously undetected particle in the center.

Mattia Di Mauro of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics said the research technique used had given very important details about the spatial distribution of excess gamma radiation. According to Di Mauro, the research describes what causes the abundance of high-energy photons in the Galactic nucleus.

According to Di Mauro, the data helps scientists to dismiss several previous hypotheses.

"This aspect had never been observed before and could be explained by dark matter presence dark matter interpretation. This is because we think the particles composing the dark matter halo should have similar energies.

"The analysis clearly shows that the excess of gamma rays is concentrated in the Galactic center, exactly what we would expect to find in the heart of the Milky Way if dark matter is in fact a new kind of particle."

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