4
$\begingroup$

Has there been any theoretical or observational study of the possibility of detecting "local dark matter", either within the solar system or near the Sun in interstellar space?

If so, what methods could possibly be used to detect it?

$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

We don't know what dark matter is, and we have never directly detected the exotic dark matter that is believed to make up much of the mass of the universe.

We expect dark matter to be in the form of a particle that interacts only with gravity and the weak nuclear interaction. Such a particle would be invisible (as light wouldn't interact with it) and it could pass through normal matter.

Since such dark matter doesn't interact much, except gravitationally, it would be spread out in a large elliptical cloud around the galaxy. There would be dark matter everywhere in the galaxy, including in the solar system, but there are no clumps of dark matter. There are no dark matter planets or stars.

In fact, we would expect about 1 proton mass of dark matter in every 3 cubic cm. That is a very small amount of mass. In the solar system, there is a billion-billion times more normal matter than exotic dark matter. And as I've noted, nobody has ever directly observed a dark matter particle, we don't know what they are.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Weird layman idea, just came into my mind: What if dark matter exists only as a field, but not as particles. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jul 17 '19 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Why is it thought to interact with the weak nuclear interaction? $\endgroup$ – Osias Jota Jul 18 '19 at 17:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is probably some deep connections between having mass, the Higgs mechanism and electroweak symmetry breaking, that mean that you would expect the supersymmetric massive particles that are possible WIMPS to have an weak interaction. But you could make that a new question, here or on the physics exchange. $\endgroup$ – James K Jul 18 '19 at 20:50
1
$\begingroup$

There is dark matter in the solar system in the sense of ordinary matter which is too little, too dispersed, and reflects too little light to be seen. Occasionally one of the larger fragments will fly close enough to be noticed by our radars and telescopes, but there is not enough of it to affect the dynamics of the solar system. If you mean exotic dark matter in the form of WIMPs, we can't say with 100 percent certainty that there is none at all, but we can say there are not massive amounts of it, otherwise its gravity would betray its presence. Personally, I don't believe there is any at all, but I couldn't prove it.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.