Monday, December 16, 2013

Explaining Dark Matter: Axions

Many of you probably understand the basics of an elusive type of matter called dark matter, something that is required to explain numerous anomalous characteristics of the universe. The most prominent features that dark matter explains are the observed gravitational lensing from low visible matter galaxies and the large structure formation observable in the cosmic microwave background radiation. If you need a refresher course, you can read about dark matter here:

The ambiguous name "dark" matter, reflects our inability to figure out what this matter is; however, we do have a few ideas about what this form of matter could be made of. One of these hypothetical particles is called axions. Sometimes called sterile neutrinos, they are certainly not a new idea in the field of particle physics. It was first proposed in 1977. These particles are described as having no spin and no charge; in addition, they are described as interacting noticeably with the strong and weak force and having meager mass (considerably less than an electron).

Knowing what exactly constitutes dark matter is fairly important to cosmology, considering over 80% of the matter in the universe makes up it.

So let"s take a closer look at axions:

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