A world without WIMPs

There was talk over lunch and coffee of dark forces, dark photons, and dark neutrons.1 (emphasis added)

This is the extent of what is actually known about dark matter and any other entities from the dark sector of particle physics.  At a workshop where more than 100 physicists took over the University of Maryland, titled “US Cosmic Visions: New Ideas in Dark Matter,” attendees were encouraged to think more broadly to solve the vexing problem of the non-detection of dark matter particles in all experiments that have ever been tried for the last 40 years, at least.

They spoke of axions and other dark-matter candidates so lightweight that they would be detected as waves, and of particles so heavy that they would clump together and encounter Earth only occasionally as a vast invisible glob.1

Despite impressive sensitivity, dark-matter detection experiments such as Large Underground Xenon (detector array above) have not found any evidence of WIMPs. Credit: C. H. Faham/LUX

A recalibration for the dark-matter community

For decades physicists have been fixated on the putative WIMP, a Weakly Interacting Massive Particle, which allegedly has a tendency to intermittently mingle with ordinary matter via the weak force. WIMPs have been alleged to inhabit our part of the Galaxy but all experiments, like the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) detector array, have failed to find any trace of their existence.  Theorists developed ideas that WIMPs might be the lowest mass yet stable supersymmetric particle, called the neutralino but experimentalists with vast, exquisitely sensitive underground detectors such as the LUX array or using the powerful particle accelerator the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) found no such particles though they were meant to be constantly streaming stealthily through our planet. Now, Continue reading

Where materialism logically leads

First there was dark matter, then came dark energy, then dark photons and now there is talk of dark stars, dark planets and even dark intelligent life, in a whole dark galaxy within our Milky Way galaxy.

Starry Night

Figure 1: (Caption excerpted from Ref. 1) Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry night’ painting blends reality with an other-worldly starry universe. (Photo: Museum of Modern Art, made available by Wikimedia Commons)

In an article musing on such claims,1 where the van Gogh painting “Starry night” is highlighted, in the caption to the painting is written, “Perhaps he knew something about the nature of the universe that we are just beginning to understand.” As much as I like the paintings of Vincent van Gogh, I don’t think he knew or envisaged, in the swirls illustrated in his painting (Fig. 1), anything about invisible dark matter or a dark galaxy within ours. To suggest otherwise surely must be a joke, because physicists today know nothing about so-called dark matter and dark energy. It is called dark not because of what they don’t know, but because of what they do know.

This ludicrous situation has developed in astrophysics because of the initial assumption of materialism (matter and energy is all there is) and the dogmatic insistence that it must be rigorously applied to the origin and structure of this universe. As a result when physicists observe the rotation speeds of stars not only in our own galaxy but also in many thousands of other spiral galaxies they find that the stars in the spiral disks are moving too fast. They are moving so fast that in the assumed lifetimes of the galaxies, of order 10 billion years, the galaxies should have been eviscerated because their stars should have flown away from the galaxies, which could not hold onto them.

halo DM

Figure 2: Alleged spherical halo of dark matter around a typical spiral galaxy.

To fix this, the standard approach is to posit the existence, around every galaxy, of a spherical halo of dark matter (see Fig. 2), that has just the right density, distribution and gravitational properties to solve the conundrum but neither emits nor interacts with electromagnetic radiation. Because astrophysicists cannot explain these high rotational velocities with standard tried-and-tested Newtonian physics, they have concocted the notion that galaxies really comprise between 80% to 90% dark matter—stuff that is everywhere but we cannot see or detect it by any method.2 The article1 states that the majority of today’s physicists believe this. That may well be the case, but I don’t and I’m sure I qualify as a real physicist.3 In any event, truth is not determined by majority opinion.4 Continue reading

‘Dark photons’: another cosmic fudge factor

First it was dark matter,1 then came dark energy,2 followed by dark fluid,3 dark flow,4 and dark radiation5; and now a new entity is suggested for the dark sector of particle physics—dark photons. The dark sector is full of hypothetical entities designed to save the big bang story but it is really just a lot of cosmic storytelling.6

Previously I have argued that dark matter is a sort of ‘god of the gaps’, the ‘unknown god’,7  in astrophysics. It is an unknown invoked to explain the inexplicable,8 which, if you follow the chain of logic, is required to maintain a belief in the big bang paradigm. Its existence is only inferred from the application of known physics to certain observations in the universe.Without assuming the existence of some exotic unknown dark matter comprising about 25% of the matter/energy content of the universe10 the standard big bang model would have to be discarded as a total failure.

Dark matter has never been observed in space or in any laboratory experiment.

Colliding galaxies

Now a new observation of four colliding galaxies in the Abell 3827 cluster apparently may shed new light on the conundrum.11 See the four galaxies in the centre of the figure here.

Abell 3827

Figure: Approximately real-colour image from the Hubble Space Telescope, of galaxy cluster Abell 3827. The galaxy cluster is made of hundreds of yellowish galaxies. At its core, four giant galaxies are smashing into each other. As the topmost of the four galaxies fell in, it is proposed that it left its dark matter trailing behind, separated from the normal matter. You can’t see the dark matter in this picture because it is ‘dark’; meaning invisible. But its position is allegedly revealed by the gravitational lensing of an unrelated spiral galaxy behind the cluster, whose distorted image is seen as a blue arc, around the group of four central galaxies. Credit: Dr. Richard Massey (Durham University) image. Ref. 12.

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