The mysterious dark matter has not yet been discovered in nature in the form of tangible particles of matter, but scientists have already proposed a technique for searching for entire planets from dark matter. It seems impossible, but in general, the physics of the behavior of dark matter is understandable, and a planet from it can be relatively easily distinguished from a planet from ordinary matter, and people have not had any problems with the detection of ordinary exoplanets for a long time.
The basic algorithms for finding dark matter planets were created by a group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Obviously, the behavior of a pair of a star and a dark matter exoplanet will be strikingly different from the behavior of a star and an ordinary exoplanet. There will be differences in all cases that make it possible to detect exoplanets. Most often, there are two such situations: an exoplanet passes over the disk of a star, and we see a short-term and periodic decrease in the brightness of the star; or the star changes its radial velocity, which indicates its oscillatory motion around the common center of mass of the star-exoplanet.
It is assumed that dark matter can exist both in the form of particles and in the form of clumps. Clots in the form of macroscopic structures may well have a planetary mass. It was this assumption that scientists made when they started working on a technique for searching for exoplanets from dark matter. In their opinion, “a macroscopic state of dark matter with a mass and/or radius similar to a planet will behave like a dark exoplanet if it is limited by a star system, even if the physics underlying the object resembles something completely different.”
Modern methods for detecting exoplanets make it possible to determine their key properties: radius, mass and density. In some cases, we can even determine the composition of an exoplanet’s atmosphere. All this is easily considered and perfectly fits into the developed models from the birth of planets and stars to their death. But if the calculations show something out of the box – an exoplanet with a density higher than that of iron, or, conversely, with a density close to zero – all this will hint at a different physics and, possibly, point to an exoplanet from dark matter.
Among the mass of data received about exoplanets, scientists could not find discoveries that go beyond the usual physics. But scientists have allowed themselves to clearly outline such a framework. If an amazing discovery is made, the proposed basic techniques will facilitate the explanation of the phenomenon and even simply create conditions for the search for exoplanets from dark matter. In addition, the article can be found on the arXiv preprint server.
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