We May Have Just Observed Axions for the Very First Time
From the popular mechanics
The data set from an underground laboratory could show the existence of sun axes.
Axions are telltale particles from the sun or dark matter that have been suggested by physicists but never observed.
This measured "surplus" could be several things, including axions and new background noise.
Scientists say they may have seen axions for the first time. The data are not confirmed by external observers, and the scientists themselves say that their data could have come from one of several other explanations, but the probability indicates axions.
What is an axion? So far, most studies on the idea of the axions have focused on what they are not - but hypothetically, the idea of the axion could help explain an unresolved difference in the amount of "light matter" and "dark matter", scientists believe Universe contains . Because dark matter has never been observed, scientists rely on telltale signals to extrapolate where and how dark matter could affect other particles.
"Axions are hypothetical particles that have been suggested to maintain nuclear inversion symmetry, and the sun could be a strong source of them," reports the laboratory.
Today's news is in the form of a press release from a long-term experimental observatory in Gran Sasso, Italy called XENON1T, in which a liquid xenon detector monitors some of the lowest possible energy signals. The liquid and gas detection chamber records even the smallest disturbances, and these signals are collected over time as evidence of possible interactions with dark matter.
The overall principle is like triangulating lightning during a thunderstorm. Instruments measure the “scintillation light” generated by interacting particles, and the electrons released by this light are measured a second time. The two measurements are then compared, and the time delay is used to extrapolate how deep the interaction was.
The XENON experiment, as the entire facility and studies are known, includes the XENON1T detector and related observations. Evan Shockley, a graduate of the University of Chicago, presented the results on Wednesday, and the XENON1T statement explains this in more detail.
Over a period of time, the scientists expected a certain number of these light and electron interactions and associated most of the expected events with known phenomena. Instead of 232 expected such events, there were 285 - a surplus of 53, which is about 23 percent more events than estimated by scientists.
"This raises the exciting question: where does this surplus come from?" the statement says. "An explanation could be a new, previously neglected, background source caused by the presence of tiny amounts of tritium in the XENON1T detector."
This may sound like the result of a sad trumpet, but in the search for dark matter, the more scientists understand what they see and hear, the more scientists can adjust their search efforts.
But scientists also have reason to be optimistic. You explain:
“The observed excess has a similar energy spectrum to that expected from axions generated in the sun. Although these sun axes are not candidates for dark matter, their discovery would mark the first observation of a well-motivated but never observed class of new particles, which would have a major impact on our understanding of basic physics, but also on astrophysical phenomena. "
They say that the result of the sun axis is most likely given this observation of excess signals. And they say their next-generation XENONnT detector could reveal the additional information needed to make a final decision.
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