Billions of years ago a dwarf galaxy was destroyed when it came into contact with the intense gravitational forces generated by the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy was torn apart, releasing powerful streams of dark matter. One of those streams is currently on its way towards our solar system and it is followed by a companion stream that is filled with dark matter debris. Both travel at the impressive speed of 500 kilometers per second. Since the streams are made of black matter, the collision will be harmless and researchers around the world will have a unique chance to study the elusive element.
The phenomenon is not new as over 30 streams have been observed in the last decades. What makes S1 unique is its trajectory, as it travels directly through the middle of our solar system and a large quantity of dark matter will reach the Sun.
How can we find dark matter?
In order to detect dark mater, astronomers are looking after traces of weakly interactive massive particles (or WIMP) and/or axions as they are thought to be the primary components that constitute dark matter. Current technology is not able to spot WIMP as accurately as researchers would like, but the situation may change in the future. Axion haloscopes are able to trace dark matter since it generates a frequency that can be spotted by the devices.
It is generally agreed that approximately 85% of the universe is comprised of black matter. The name references the fact that dark matter doesn’t interact with observable electromagnetic radiation, a trait which renders it invisible to the whole electromagnetic spectrum and particularly hard to spot even with modern astronomical equipment.
While the composition of the stream is not entirely known, some astronomers hope that it will be rich in axions as they are easier to spot and observe. Researchers hope to learn more it and harness the knowledge in order to make knew and valuable discoveries.