Dark matter most likely makes up an incredible 80 percent of the universe’s mass. But this single fact is the extent of our knowledge about this mysterious, all pervasive substance, with scientists unsure exactly what it is and how it came to be. Now a groundbreaking study has revealed dark matter may be even more bizarre than first thought, as its origin may have actually pre-dated the beginning of the Universe – the Big Bang.
Dark matter is difficult to grasp as it is not directly observable.
Scientists know dark matter dominates ordinary matter in the universe by more than five times.
This is because galaxies rotate too fast to hold onto their stars.
Without this dark matter keeping them together, the laws of physics say that these galaxies would fall apart.
For example, the Milky Way rotates so fast that it must contain 30 times more dark matter than ordinary matter.
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Tommi Tenkanen, a postdoctoral fellow in Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University and the study’s author, believes he has found a new connection between particle physics and astronomy.
He said: “If dark matter consists of new particles that were born before the Big Bang, they affect the way galaxies are distributed in the sky in a unique way.
“This connection may be used to reveal their identity and make conclusions about the times before the Big Bang too.”
The shock findings contradict a long-held assumption dark matter is a leftover remnant from the Big Bang.
Mr Tenkanen added: “If dark matter were truly a remnant of the Big Bang, then in many cases researchers should have seen a direct signal of dark matter in different particle physics experiments already.”
The seismic study illustrates how dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang – the prevailing cosmological model for the observable Universe.
Dark matter would have been born during the cosmic inflation era, when space-time expanded at unimaginable speeds.
This expansion is thought to lead to the introduction bizarre particles such as the famed Higgs boson.
Mr Tenkanen added: ”We do not know what dark matter is, but if it has anything to do with any scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang.
“With the proposed mathematical scenario, we don’t have to assume new types of interactions between visible and dark matter beyond gravity, which we already know is there.”
The astrophysicist believes the potentially landmark findings were missed until now because scientists overlooked the simplest possible mathematical scenario for dark matter’s origins.
And the research could even lead to a new method of testing the theory by observing the signatures dark matter leaves on the distribution of matter in the Universe.