You are on page 1of 6

Dark Matter

A very ellusive substance, that is said to have gravitational effects on visible matter,
but still remains invisible. It is said to be the substance that formed much of our
universe. Studying the evidence for its existance, one finds that the need for dark
matter has risen from observations of celestial motion and from our current
theories on the birth and formation of the universe. As a result we look for
possible clues of physical characteristics that might have the making of dark matter.
As it's name suggests, they never so far have revealed themself even to the most
powerful telescopes.

Dark matter if at all, exists in different forms. Hot, Warm and Cold. We are still
unclear as to what they are made off. Beyond the mystery of this, lies something
called Dark Energy. A far more stranger entity which apparently consititute the
majority of the mass of the universe. The cause of the acceleration of the expansion
of the universe. This energy perfectly compliments the current theory of dark
matter. It provides some answers to the 'missing mass' problem of the universe.

The question of dark matter is one that will not go way. Right now it offers the only
explanation of the behaviour of the universe. However alternative the theory might
be, it supports the phenomena of dark matter.

Introduction

The concept of Dark matter has been debated for nearly a century now. But still, it
has not been able to find undeniable proof. Its existence still evades us. In spite of
the progress we have made in exploring the universe. To some it seems like a wild
goose chase. The fact of the matter is that dark matter, by its very characteristics
eludes conventional methods of detection.

What is Dark Matter?

In 1933 Fritz Zwicky came up with the concept of Dark Matter out need. In his
attempt to derive at the total mass of a galaxy, he started working backwards.
From the observed motions in the outer rim. In this he found a glaring
inconsistency with traditional estimate. Especially in the cluster mass based on the
brightness of the cluster. His calculations gave a mass, 400 times that the
traditional estimates. This was where he figure out, that the mass of a galaxy was
inferred from something invisible. That was the birth of Dark Matter.

After he postulated that there maybe something called Dark Matter that gave mass
to the universe, the case became stronger. It got further reinforcement when
questions arose on how the universe formed into the structure we have today.

The thing we know for certain about the property of dark matter is that we are
unable to detect it. One conclusion from that might be that is it nothing more than
a thin mix of matter occupying empty space. In spite of the fact that its density is so
small, it does have its effect in terms of 'missing mass' considering the immensity of
the universe in size. As a result we are led to conclude that dark matter is
something very different to the stuctures we current know or understand.

Furthermore, based on the current understanding of gravity, Dark Matter has


become more existential. Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity postulated it
simply. He said that their existed a force between any two particles, propotional to
the product of their respective masses and inversely propotional to the square of
the distance between them. At large distances these forces acted minutely, but to
great effect, shaping every phenonmenon in the universe. There is also questions
about our current understanding of gravity. Especially, that gravity has a much
stronger effects at large distances that we think.

Possible Dark Matter Material

Dark matter is grouped into 3 primary categories. Hot Dark Matter, Cold Dark
Matter and

Hot Dark Matter

Hot dark matter supposedly consists of particles travelling at relativistic velocities.


A particle known to be in this class is Neutrinos. Nuetrinos are said to be massless.
Recent studies suggest that their mass maybe non-zero. Nuetrinos interact very
weakly with matter, it might be an explantion of the missing mass problem. But, it
seems that still there is something missing. Neutrinos account only for a part of the
missing mass.
Cold Dark Matter

Cold dark matter is composed of non-relativistic particles. One such particle is the
Axion. From study it seems that Axions were created in abundance during the birth
of the universe. However, being robbed of kinetic energy they now exist in a 'cold'
fluid known as a Bose-Einstein condensate. Todate, no experiment has revealed its
existance. Still it does theoritically fit in with the 'missing mass' puzzle.

Dark Energy

Dark Energy became a hit, when Einstein published his paper on The General
Theory of Relativity. In that he changed the way we looked at gravity. Newtons
long standing concept was being displaced. It was not a simple force within a static
universe. It had one more component to its dimension. Space-time. Which twisted
massive objects to create gravitational wells that we observe as a force. In his quest
to construct an equation to describe the state of the universe, Einstein was in for
some big surprises. It also predicted and expanding universe. Still believing the
universe to be static, he added a cosmological constant. Λ – denoted by the greek
alphabet Lambda. It came to be one of his greatest blunders, according to him.
Much later Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was in fact expanding.
Einstein's cosmological constant was deemed unnecessary. But then, much later in
1998 independent researchers measured the red shift of a supernovae and found
that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating. This suggested that
Einstein was after all right, in introducing the cosmological constant to his
equations. The only difference in this case was that it acted against gravity, causing
the expansion to hasten with time.

As such, dark energy perfectly compliments dark matter and it provides the
additional gravitational effects so far missing from dark matter. Dark Energy can be
thought of as an invisible energy that permeates the whole of space. Thankfully,
quantum mechanics predicts just that. Zero point energy. It would seem therefore,
that every thing is resolved within this particular field. And it would be, but for one
crucial problem. The zero point energy predicted by quantum mechanics is of the
order of 10120 times greater than the observed cosmological constant. This problem
known as the cosmological constant problem will need to be fully
resolved by physicists if dark energy is to enter the realm of fully accepted theories.
Alternative Views

Since all of the above are only possible answers to very complex questions, it is only
fair that alternative explanations are looked at. Of the many theories floating
around to explain the mass decrepencies, Modified Newtonian Dynamics stand out.

It modified Newton's 2nd Law:

Far away from the center of a galaxy, the gravitational force a star undergoes is,
with good approximation:

with G the gravitation constant, M the mass of the galaxy, m the mass of the star
and r the distance between the center and the star. Using the new law of dynamics
gives:

Eliminating m gives:

Assuming that, at this large distance r, a is smaller than a0, .


This gives:

Therefore:

Since the equation that relates the velocity to the acceleration for a circular orbit is

,
one has:
and therefore:

Consequently, the velocity of stars on a circular orbit far from the center is a
constant, and does not depend on the distance r : the rotation curve is flat.
The proportion between the "flat" rotation velocity to the observed mass derived
here is matching the observed relation between "flat" velocity to luminosity known
as th Tully-Fisher relation.
At the same time, there is a clear relationship between the velocity and the
constant a0. The equation v=(GMa0)1/4 allows one to calculate a0 from the
observed v and M. Milgrom founda0=1.2×10−10 ms−2.
To explain the meaning of this constant, Milgrom said: "... It is roughly the
acceleration that will take an object from rest to the speed of light in the lifetime of
the universe. It is also of the order of the recently discovered acceleration of the
universe."
Retrospectively, the impact of assumed value of a>>a0 for physical effects on Earth
remains valid. Had a0 been larger, its consequences would have been visible on
Earth and, since it is not the case, the new theory would have been inconsistent.
This makes the velocity of a star flat (not dependent on its distance from the centre
of the orbit), thus eliminating the primary invocation of dark matter. This change
would never be observable on earth since Earth is locked in a permanent
“acceleration” in orbit around the sun. However, it does not
seem to address the secondary problem in the formation of structure in the
universe, and thus should reasonably be discarded if we are to favour a simpler
theory.

Detection Methods

An important attribute of any successful scientific theory is the ability to collect


supporting evidence. In this respect, dark matter may long be cast in doubt, since
its attributes make it by definition a concept both nebulous and difficult to verify.
Many experiments are currently planned or in progress with the aim of finding
evidence of dark matter. Examining the sky with ever more powerful telescopes it is
now possible to observe the bending of light for very small objects. Although this is
indeed interesting work, the full thrust of the dark matter search is focussed on
finding cold dark matter. Whilst we are capable of detecting neutrinos, spotting
relatively small numbers of them and distinguishing them from the constant flow
that penetrates the earth has proved a difficult task.

Conclusion
This article really has only scratched the surface of a problem that straddles pretty
much every aspect of modern physics from general relativity to string theory.
Whether dar matter exists or not, the search for it will undoubtedly bring us fresh
understanding of the universe, and closer to the truth of it origin.