Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dark Matter Possibilities

1. HOT DARK MATTER - Neutrinos (3 types- electron-, muon-, and tau-neutrinos).
2. Characteristics: 1) found everywhere 2) 100,000 times less mass than an electron- incredibly tiny. 3) They are just there... they exist with other ones, usually around places that would have hot dark matter, but are not bound to certain places. They are made through nuclear fusion and can be very common in supernovas and emission from stars. 4) They move too quickly to be pulled into an individual galaxy, but heavy neutrinos might be able to affect larger structures like galaxy superclusters. 5) They contribute to dark matter because they are incredibly difficult to detect, but we know that they are produced through nuclear fusion, which occurs in pretty much every star out there, which means there are literally millions and millions of neutrinos out there, explaining some of the mysterious mass we call dark matter. 6) Instruments with vacuums deep within the ground are built to detect the teeny-tiny particles, but even then, very few neutrinos are detected. An example of such an instrument: the DRIFT-I detector. They're virtually indetectable otherwise.

Neutrinos are classified as WILPs (weakly-interacting, light particles), and are a type of HOT dark matter. They travel at ultra-relativistic velocities, meaning they travel incredibly close to the speed of light. They have a mass of 100,000 times less than an electron, and they only interact with regular matter through the "weak nuclear force", a force that requires no contact and is incredibly weak, involving radioactivity and the emission of particles by neutrons/protons in an atomic nucleus.

REFLECTION: Wow! Just knowing how tiny these particles are can open up millions of possibilities. Space probably isn't as empty as we thought if there are particles THAT hard to detect... oh gosh, I wish I could live until I choose to die so I could see what people discover. Maybe I'd even get to go to space. Or to another planet. Or even another galaxy (I wish).

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