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Saturday, February 21, 2015

dark matter

Could dark matter cause some mass extinctions and geologic upheavals?

February 19, 2015
NGC 4565, an edge-on spiral galaxy. The stars, dust and gas are concentrated into a thin disc, much like the one in our Milky Way galaxy (credit: Jschulman555)
In Earth’s path around and through our Galaxy’s discdark mattermay perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth’s core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events, according to a research finding by New York University Biology Professor Michael Rampino.
Writing in an open-access paper published today, Feb. 19, in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, he notes that the Galactic disc is the region of the Milky Way galaxy where our solar system resides.
It is crowded with stars and clouds of gas and dust, and also a concentration of elusive dark matter — hypothesized small subatomic particles that can be detected only by their gravitational effects.
Previous studies have shown that Earth rotates around the disc-shaped Galaxy once every 250 million years, with the Sun and planets weaving through the crowded disc approximately every 30 million years./.../

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