Andromeda has revealed its core to us and it sure looks full of dark secrets at first glance. For long we have known that the core of Andromeda is the source of some really powerful blasts of gamma radiation. What we could not understand was the source for this gamma radiation and why it had such intensity only at the core of Andromeda.
For those who need a quick refresher course, Andromeda is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way and it is just around 2.5 million light years away from us. Someday when we can move around at Star Wars speeds, we might just pay a visit to Andromeda first because of its close proximity. Now back to the secret just revealed.
Scientists have just recently managed to speculate on why these gamma radiations exist. It is their belief that such gamma radiation and the intensity with which they emanate exist only because of the destruction of dark matter. The phenomenon isn’t just restricted to the core of Andromeda because our own galaxy has a core like with similar gamma ray readings.
Speaking of Dark matter, it isn’t your typical matter that you can catch, hold, measure and formulate theories around. First of all, it is not visible and yet somehow constitutes nearly 70% or more of the entire measurable universe! Yup, that’s the first complication with dark matter – the fact that you really have no means to weigh or see it. What is evident however with dark matter is the effect it has on anything in its surrounding on a gravitational level.
Now, the presence of dark matter in the center of a galaxy is nothing new. This has been theorized for some time now. The signals emanating from the core of Andromeda however aren’t typical of the expected signals. They are way more compact and dense. What scientists currently envision is that the core of our sibling galaxy has tons of dark matter that collide to form WIMPS, which in turn releases massive amounts of energy bursts all in the gamma range. Of course, all this is mere speculation and until we actually manage to create or hold dark matter for testing purposes, we really cannot give a concrete conclusion to this saga of what’s inside Andromeda’s core.
By the way, there are multiple explanations to the source of gamma radiation from Andromeda core and this isn’t the only plausible one. Another viable alternative is that there are several pulsars all in the middle of the Andromeda galaxy and it is the collective gamma ray readings that we are seeing with our measurement instruments. Because of the sheer distance between our galaxies, it is possible that the individual signals from each source is fusing together by the time it reaches us.
The hope of researchers is to compare the signals received from Andromeda and our own galaxy’s core to shed some light on what exists at the core and whether it is dark matter or a collection of pulsars as the conventional theory goes. One sure thing is that such studies will eventually lead to bigger secrets such as the formation of the universe itself.