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Is Jupiter a key to finding dark matter?

16 Apr 2021, 12:00 UTC
Is Jupiter a key to finding dark matter?
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The Juno spacecraft captured this image of Jupiter during its 31st close flyby of the giant planet on December 30, 2020. The storm known as the Great Red Spot is visible on the horizon, nearly rotated out of view as Juno sped away from Jupiter at 30 miles (48 km) per second. Citizen scientist Tanya Oleksuik created this color-enhanced image using data from the JunoCam camera. See Juno’s image gallery. Image via NASA.
Two astrophysicists said on April 5, 2021, that Jupiter might serve as an ideal detector in the hunt for dark matter, the elusive and mysterious substance thought to make up a substantial fraction of our universe. Stanford University’s Rebecca Leane and Stockholm University’s Tim Linden released a draft version of a new paper on arXiv, describing how that might work. These scientists list two reasons why our solar system’s largest planet might be an advantageous spot to search for dark matter: its size and its temperature. Leane explained:
Because Jupiter has a large surface area compared to other solar system planets, it can capture more dark matter… You might then wonder why not just use the even bigger (and very close by) sun. Well, the second advantage ...

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