Dark matter might have an electric charge, study says
A new study suggests that some dark matter particles might carry a small electric charge.

Tyler MacDonald | 4 hours ago

Scientists have never really explored the possibility that dark matter possesses an electric charge. But a new study suggests that some dark matter particlesmight carry one, although it seems to be very small.

The study was led by Julian Muoz, a theoretical cosmologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"You've heard of electric cars and e-books, but now we are talking about electric dark matter," she said. "However, this electric charge is on the very smallest of scales."

Previous research by scientists behind the Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionization) Signature (EDGES) project led to the discovery of a radio signature from the universe's first stars. And Muoz believes that the strangely low temperature of hydrogen atoms detected in this same experiment could be indicative of an interaction between normal matter and dark matter.

"If EDGES has detected cooler-than-expected hydrogen gas during this period, what could explain it? One possibility is that hydrogen was cooled by the dark matter," Muoz said.

"We are constraining the possibility that dark matter particles carry a tiny electrical chargeequal to one-millionth that of an electronthrough measurable signals from the cosmic dawn," said Avi Loeb, a theoretical physicist and senior author on the study.

As of now, the team has no way to prove the theory just yet, since "such tiny charges are impossible to observe even with the largest particle accelerators."

The findings were published May 30 in Nature.

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