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The Search for a Massive Photon --"May Reveal Dark Matter and Nix the Standard Model"


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“We’re looking for a massive photon,” explains MIT physics professor Richard Milner. That may seem like a contradiction in terms: Photons, or particles of light, are known to be massless. If it does exist, that would represent a major discovery, Milner says. “It’s totally beyond anything we understand about the physical world. A massive photon would be totally different” from anything allowed by the Standard Model, the bedrock of modern particle physics. "It’s a tiny effect,” Milner adds, but “it can have enormous consequences for our theories and our understanding. It would be absolutely groundbreaking in physics.”

Scientists have been trying to puzzle out for decades why the universe seems to weigh more than it should, and so far the answer points to dark matter—an invisible substance that they still don’t clearly understand and is thought to exist in clumps throughout the universe.Dark matter, believed by physicists to outweigh all the normal matter in the universe by more than five to one, is by definition invisible. But, scientists at MIT and elsewhere have developed a new tool that could test to see if dark matter is detectable.

However, an exotic particle that resembles a photon, but with mass, has been proposed by some theorists to explain dark matter — whose nature is unknown but whose existence can be inferred from the gravitational attraction it exerts on ordinary matter, such as in the way galaxies rotate and clump together.

Now, an experiment known as DarkLight, developed by MIT physics professpr Peter Fisher and Milner in collaboration with researchers at the Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory in Virginia and others, will look for a massive photon with a specific energy postulated in one particular theory about dark matter, Milner says. If the planned experiment detects the A’ particle, says Roy Holt, a distinguished fellow in the physics division at Argonne National Laboratory says, “it would signal that dark matter could actually be studied in a laboratory setting.”

To prove the existence of the theorized particle, dubbed A’ (“A prime”), the new experiment will use a particle accelerator at the Jefferson Lab that has been tuned to produce a very narrow beam of electrons with a megawatt of power. That’s a lot of power, Milner says: “You could not put any material in that path,” he says, without having it obliterated by the beam. For comparison, he explains that a hot oven represents a kilowatt of power. “This is a thousand times that,” he says, concentrated into mere millionths of a meter.

The new paper confirms that the new facility’s beam meets the characteristics needed to definitively detect the hypothetical particle — or rather, to detect the two particles that it decays into, in precise proportions that would reveal its existence. Doing so, however, will require up to two years of further preparations and testing of the equipment, followed by another two years to collect data on millions of electron collisions in the search for a tiny statistical anomaly.

While DarkLight’s main purpose is to search for the A’ particle, it also happens to be well suited to addressing other major puzzles in physics, Milner says. It can probe the nature of a reaction, inside stars, in which carbon and helium fuse to form oxygen — a process that accounts for all of the oxygen that now exists in the universe.

“This is the stuff we’re all made of,” Milner says, and the rate of this reaction determines how much oxygen exists. While that reaction rate is very hard to measure, Milner says, the DarkLight experiment could illuminate the process in a novel way: “The idea is to do the inverse.” Instead of fusing atoms to form oxygen, the experiment would direct the powerful beam at an oxygen target, causing it to split into carbon and helium. That, Milner says, would provide an indirect way of determining the stellar production rate.

In 2012, Simona Vegetti, a physics fellow at MIT, discovered an entire galaxy made of dark matter just outside the Milky Way. The dark galaxy may host a luminous galaxy made invisible by the dark matter. “The thing people like about dark matter is that it’s been able to explain so many observations,” Vegetti said.

Because dark matter reflects no light, the galaxy is elusive. Vegetti worked with an international team of scientists including three from the U.S. and two from the Netherlands. Using the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, they detected the galaxy by studying ripples in the patterns of light rays from the Milky Way, a method known as gravitational lensing.

“It’s a dark matter-dominated object,” Vegetti said, “So there might be stars but very little.”

There are thought to be more than 10,000 satellite galaxies attached to our Milky Way galaxy, but only 30 of them are visible, she said. The image at the top of the page shows the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy, named for the constellation in which it is seen from the earth, in the process of colliding and merging with our own Milky Way.

“The question becomes are these satellites missing because they don’t exist or because they are purely dark? And that’s one question we’re trying to answer,” she said.

The Daily Galaxy via MIT, Northwestern, and Physical Review Letters



I'm getting tired of every other article here reffering to dark this or dark that. don't come to dg to read more god of the gaps hogwash, which is all the "dark" lexicon is. admit incompletness to current theories and stop copping out. hate watching science go the way of religion and intellectual laziness. einstien, for instance, was a man with a great mind, but turning that into a cult,well, does anyone else here notice a deterioration of integretrity happening?

Gee, Peter. Sorry to annoy your tired little brain. We'll pass on your profound comments to the Physics Dept at MIT.

I must agree to Peter
The world is in many ways heading back fast towards the good old Christian Dark Ages. It does not only apply to torture also science is infected by the virus of dogmatic religion.
A critic against the collection of Alice in Wonderland objects like dark mater, dark energy singularities and other hocus pokus is justified. There is no proof of any of this and those who treat theories as facts should be criticized for their lack of respect to all those who try to find proof before publishing.

sq .

Peter and sq are right to say these things. We may as well call dark matter black magic for all its worth.

Milner should search for massive neutrons. They have neither a positive or negative charge so they should be HUGE! Also, neutrons can spawn neutrinos.


I totally agree on the critical comments here.

1. The theoretical mathematicians have overturned the genuine cosmological scientifically approaches and methods and the results are far astray the common sense from natural philosophy.

2. A “photon” is not even a “photon” but an electromagnetic ray which possibly cannot have any mass. All electromagnetic rays does, is lighting up the medium in which it travels and objects that it hits. There is no “photon-mass” to look for, and if the scientists keep holding on to this strange idea, of course they then must declare “a lots of missing mass” in the universe.

3. The cosmological concept of “mass” is evenly confused because of the ancient ideas of Newtonian gravity and celestial mechanics which is directly contradicted by the galactic rotation anomaly that lead to the very first dark matter rabbit being pulled up of the dark hat.

- The galactic formation goes in an electromagnetic fluent circuit into the galactic funnel and out again and no specific location in the galaxy can be subscribed to the whole mass in the galaxy simple because it all is fluent which of course also dismiss "a heavy black rabbit hole" in the centres of galaxies. No black rabbits are needed if the scientists understand the natural formation that takes place everywhere.

4. The largest modern scientific blunder is the idea of measuring cosmological distances via a light constant where the electromagnetic rays are scattered and weakened on its way to the telescopes, thus giving the “redshift” impressions “that everything is moving away from us in all measured directions” and “the expanding universe”, which again lead to the very strange idea of Big Bang and “the age of the Universe” – all that nonsense which afterwards hasn´t exactly decreased the amount of black rabbits being pulled out of the black hat.

Conclusion: In order to get It all more right, this demands of course that cosmological scientists forget a good part of the strange and unnatural Newtonian and Einsteinian ideas and start all over again.

Ivar Nielsen
Natural Philosopher

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

The critics here can kvetch all they want, but these researchers are trying to advance our understanding of the universe; to render what was magic into knowledge - and coming up with actual, testable hypothesis to determine the validity of their ideas.

That's a better methodology than simply complaining that they are not doing it the way you think they should, natural philosophers included.


What´s the better methodology:

1. To revise and discard a contradicted consensus "law"?
2. Or to insert an invisible matter in order to save the consensus laws?

As I wrote above:

"The galactic formation goes in an electromagnetic fluent circuit into the galactic funnel and out again and no specific location in the galaxy can be subscribed to the whole mass in the galaxy simple because it all is fluent which of course also dismiss "a heavy black rabbit hole" in the centres of galaxies".

- If the scientifically methodology really has worked, scientist would have discarded the Newtonian gravity ideas as well as the gravity-connected celestial mechanics for some 80 years ago.

Dark Photons and Dark Matter

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