Physics News of the Week: Mystery of Early Universe Galaxies + Surprising Solar Neutrino Results

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

This week the top news feature an interesting paper on neutrino flavour changes, a possible evidence for dark matter and unexpected results from the research in the galaxies of the early universe. To receive these summaries straight to your email every Sunday, register for our email newsletter.

1. Galaxies in the Early Universe Mature Beyond their Years (10 March)

A fascinating new research recently uncovered new facts about the earliest currently known galaxies in the universe. The galaxies were found at a record-breaking distance of 12 billion light years, seen when the universe was just 1.6 billion years old. Interestingly, these galaxies appear mature enough to raise questions about what forced them to grow up so quickly.

“These distant and early massive galaxies are one of the Holy Grails of astronomy,” Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology, Professor Karl Glazebrook, who was involved in the discovery, said. “Fifteen years ago they were predicted not to even exist within the cosmological model favoured at the time.”

What caused the early galaxies to mature so rapidly?

2. Possible Evidence for Dark Matter Particle Presented (11 March)

It seems that recently there were more than enough news titles claiming the discovery of the elusive dark matter particle. This week, however, the attendees of the UCLA symposium offered several analyses interpreted to imply the existence of a dark matter particle. What makes this announcement stand out is that physicists offered a likely mass of the elusive particle — 30 billion electron-volts.

“At this symposium, it was obvious that excitement is building in the fields of dark matter theory and, especially, detection,” said Cline, who noted that there are several ways dark matter can be observed and that all were discussed at the UCLA meeting. However, more work will have to be done to confirm the findings.

3. Solar Neutrino Signal Reported Slightly Stronger at Night (14 March)

Recently researchers working on the J-PARC project in Tokai, Japan, have published the results of the year-long study of neutrino fluxes. The results indicated that a flux of solar neutrinos during nighttime that was approximately 3.2 percent greater than what was measured during the day.

It has been known for a while now that neutrinos can change their flavor when travelling from the Sun to Earth. The term “flavor” refers to its characteristics, which can be one of three: electron, muon, and tau. Until now, however, it wasn’t clear if traveling through an object could also cause them to change flavor. Interestingly, the data analysis of the results from the year-long study suggest that passing through the Earth has caused the neutrinos to revert back to the flavor they started out as. This agrees with the theoretical work done by Russian physicists Stanislav Mikheyev and Alexei Smirnov, however, to achieve the required 5σ  significance more measurements need to be taken.

More news:

Mercury Contracted More than Prior Estimates
Bionic Plants
Planet X Myth Debunked

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