Dark matter hurricane blowing past Earth

Dark matter hurricane blowing past Earth

There’s a “dark matter hurricane” blowing through our corner of the Milky Way galaxy about 500 km/s, according to the study of British and Spanish scientists published in the journal Physical Review D.

The dark matter is traveling in what is known as the S1 stream. Scientists think that streams like this one are the cosmic debris leftover when small galaxies stray too close to the Milky Way. Our gravitational forces tear the smaller galaxy apart, leaving behind a traveling, elliptical stream of stars, dark matter and other debris.

The progenitor of S1 is a dwarf galaxy with a total mass comparable to the present-day Fornax dwarf spheroidal, so the stream is expected to have a significant DM component. 

S1 was discovered last year by scientists examining data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite.

The scientists calculated the affect of the S1 stream in our part of the galaxy and predicted possible signatures of the dark matter, which could help inform and support efforts to locate and study the elusive substance.

According to a statement, current detectors searching for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) probably won’t see anything from S1.  However, those are geared to detect "axionic dark matter", based on a hypothetical particle known as an axion.