A recent research published in the journal Science states that positrons, the positive-charged anti-matter of electrons, which was detected by the High- Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory, in Puebla, Mexico was a result of undetected processes involving dark matter.
Scientists had earlier believed that the gamma rays were emitted from two nearby pulsar stars, the collapsed neutron stars or white dwarfs, which spin around several times a second and throw off electrons, positrons and other matter with violent force. However, the studies found that even though the pulsar stars are of right age and the right distance from the Earth, they are surrounded by an extended murky cloud which restricts the positrons from escaping in large numbers.
According to reports, Jordan Goodman, professor of physics at the University of Maryland and the lead investigator and US spokesperson for the HAWK collaboration said, "Our measurement doesn't decide the question in favor of dark matter, but any new theory that attempts to explain the excess using pulsars will need to match the new data."
The researchers made detailed measurements of the two pulsars using data from the HAWC observatory. However, the calculations made by the HAWC found that the pulsars were not the actual source of the gamma rays as it was in excess than what pulsars could generate.
Petra Huentemeyer, associate professor physics at Michigan Technological University and founding member of the HAWC collaboration said, "Our analysis does not support previous claims that the two nearby are responsible for the excess of positrons detected by two space-born telescopes, the Italian-lead PAMELA project and the AMS-02 detector of NASA."
Some researchers have even postulated that the positrons are produced in dark matter interactions.
Petra Huentemeyer said, "There are all kinds of efforts all over the globe to detect dark matter directly. Dark matter is difficult to detect. Dark matter is elusive. We don't see it. The reason we think it exists is because if you take what we know about gravitation and then look at the velocity of stars traveling around the center of disk galaxies, they are not traveling at the speeds we expect from visible matter. There must be dark, non-light emitting mass somewhere that causes this from what we understand about gravitation."
The Science has so far not affirmed the detection of the dark matter. But it is confirmed that positron excess is not explained by a pulsar nebula throwing off the particles.
The HAWK Observatory which is located at an elevation of 13,500 feet near the Sierra Negra volcano in the Pico de Orizaba National Park in the Mexican state of Puebla has more than 300 massive water tanks which detect high-energy gamma-ray packets.
The upper atmosphere of earth releases energy particles when it's been hit by high energy gamma rays. The HAWK detects it and makes calculations of the amount of energy that has reached the atmosphere.
Sourced from a study published in the journal Science.