Feature: Controversy Continues over Black Holes as Dark Matter

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According to (This article and its images were originally posted on Physics – spotlighting exceptional research October 1, 2018 at 12:04PM.)

Controversy Continues over Black Holes as Dark Matter

Following recent gravitational-wave detections, black holes have emerged as a possible, though contentious, dark matter candidate.

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Most of the matter in the Universe is dark, and its composition remains a mystery. Among the proposed ingredients, there’s perhaps no darker dark matter candidate than black holes, which could have formed in large numbers in the early Universe. The idea is not new, but it has seen a huge resurgence with the recent gravitational-wave observations of black holes. Support among cosmologists for the black-holes-as-dark-matter hypothesis has been mixed, with some researchers seeing black holes as the cure for a number of outstanding issues in cosmology and others pointing to astronomical observations that constrain black hole numbers. The ongoing debate between these two sides, regardless of its outcome, is pushing researchers to more carefully examine the available data.

Jetpack

The picture that most cosmologists have for dark matter is that it’s some sort of subatomic particle, such as a weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) or a so-called axion. However, searches for these particles continue to come up empty, opening the door to alternative possibilities. Among the options are black holes, but not the “ordinary” black holes that are known to form when a massive star explodes. To account for the dark matter, cosmologists need a separate population of black holes that formed long before stars. Such “primordial” black holes were first proposed decades ago, but they never garnered a lot of interest, as no hints of their existence were found.

 

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This article and images were originally posted on [Physics – spotlighting exceptional research] October 1, 2018 at 12:04PM. Credit to the original author and Physics – spotlighting exceptional research | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day.

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