Gravitational waves could shed light on dark matter

Gravitational waves could shed light on dark matter
Snapshots of the 120 million particle simulation of two merging dwarf galaxies, which each contain a blackhole, between 6 and 7.5 billion years. Credit: UZH

The forthcoming Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be a huge instrument allowing astronomers to study phenomena including black holes colliding and gravitational waves moving through space-time. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now found that LISA could also shed light on the elusive dark matter particle.

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will enable astrophysicists to observe emitted by as they collide with or capture other black holes. LISA will consist of three spacecraft orbiting the sun in a constant triangle formation. Gravitational waves passing through will distort the sides of the triangle slightly, and these minimal distortions can be detected by laser beams connecting the spacecraft. LISA could therefore add a new sense to scientists' perception of the universe and enable them to study phenomena invisible in different light spectra.

Scientists from the Center for Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology of the University of Zurich, together with colleagues from Greece and Canada, have now found that LISA will not only be able to measure these previously unstudied waves, but could also help to unveil secrets about dark matter.

Dark matter particles are thought to account for approximately 85 percent of the matter in the universe. However, they are still only hypothetical—the name refers to their elusiveness. But calculations show that many galaxies would be torn apart instead of rotating if they weren't held together by a large amount of dark matter.

That is especially true for dwarf galaxies. While such galaxies are small and faint, they are also the most abundant in the universe. What makes them particularly interesting for astrophysicists is that their structures are dominated by dark matter, making them natural laboratories for studying this elusive form of matter.

Black holes and dark matter are connected

In a new study reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters, UZH Ph.D. student Tomas Ramfal conducted high-resolution computer simulations of the birth of dwarf galaxies, yielding surprising results. Calculating the interplay of dark matter, stars and the central black holes of these galaxies, the team of scientists from Zurich discovered a strong link between the merger rates of these black holes and the amount of dark matter at the center of dwarf . Measuring gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes can thus provide hints about the properties of the hypothetical .

The newly found connection between black holes and can now be described in a mathematical and exact way for the first time. Lucio Mayer, the group leader, says, "Dark is the distinguishing quality of . We had therefore long suspected that this should also have a clear effect on cosmological properties."

The connection comes at an opportune moment, as preparations for the final design of LISA are under way. Preliminary results of the researchers' simulations were met with excitement at meetings of the LISA consortium. The physics community sees the new use of gravitational wave observations as a promising new prospect for one the biggest future European space missions, which is expected to launch in about 15 years and could link cosmology and particle physics—the incredibly big and the unimaginably small.


Explore further

Is dark matter made of primordial black holes?

More information: Tomas Tamfal et al, Formation of LISA Black Hole Binaries in Merging Dwarf Galaxies: The Imprint of Dark Matter, The Astrophysical Journal (2018). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aada4b
Citation: Gravitational waves could shed light on dark matter (2018, October 22) retrieved 15 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-10-gravitational-dark.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
658 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Oct 22, 2018
Dark matter is a supersolid that fills 'empty' space, strongly interacts with ordinary matter and is displaced by ordinary matter. What is referred to geometrically as curved spacetime physically exists in nature as the state of displacement of the supersolid dark matter. The state of displacement of the supersolid dark matter is gravity.

The supersolid dark matter displaced by a galaxy pushes back, causing the stars in the outer arms of the galaxy to orbit the galactic center at the rate in which they do.

Displaced supersolid dark matter is curved spacetime.

Oct 22, 2018
There is no such thing as "Dark Matter". If it is Matter, then its Quantum particles will emit/give off Energy as long as the particles are in motion - which causes that Matter to emit light of varying intensities.

Oct 22, 2018
Another simulation: "Snapshots of the 120 million particle simulation"........they took pics of a simulation, probably hoping there'd be those who could be fooled into thinking such a silly fantasy actually exists.

Oct 22, 2018

"Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive"

That could also apply to stump's posts.

Oct 22, 2018
"In a new study reported in Astrophysical Journal Letters, UZH Ph.D. student Tomas Ramfal conducted high-resolution computer simulations of the birth of dwarf galaxies, yielding surprising results. Calculating the interplay of dark matter, stars and the central black holes of these galaxies, the team of scientists from Zurich discovered a strong link between the merger rates of these black holes and the amount of dark matter at the center of dwarf galaxies. Measuring gravitational waves emitted by merging black holes can thus provide hints about the properties of the hypothetical dark matter particle."

1. computer simulations
2, surprising results
3. discovered a strong link
4. hypothetical dark matter particle

(YAWN)

Oct 22, 2018
Dark matter is a supersolid that fills 'empty' space, strongly interacts with ordinary matter and is displaced by ordinary matter.
There are quite a few direct detection experiments that have been underway for some time which would have easily detected that type of interaction, if what you're saying about displacement was true. See interactions.org's Dark Matter Hub

Energy doesn't make spacetime curve away from it, as though it was displaced or needs to expand to accommodate the energy. The opposite occurs; the energy draws spacetime inwards, analogous to how magnetic field lines concentrate themselves through piece of iron. The adjacent surrounding spacetime is stretched inward per the equations of general relativity.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more