Uncovering a Mysterious Piece of the Universe in Earth’s Atmosphere

A recent study published on the arXiv preprint server suggests that Earth may be immersed in a vast ocean of dark matter, and the waves from this invisible ocean colliding with the upper atmosphere of our planet could generate detectable radio waves. This theoretical discovery could help identify this enigmatic component of the Universe.

There is an abundance of astrophysical and cosmological evidence that suggests the existence of dark matter. From the unexplainable rotation curves of galaxies to the growth of the largest cosmic structures, dark matter appears as an invisible force, influencing the Universe in ways that we do not fully understand.

Researchers point out that dark matter may have different types of particles. Attempts to explain these phenomena with alternative theories of gravity have failed, reinforcing the belief that dark matter is an unknown form of matter that rarely interacts with light or conventional matter.

Some theories also suggest that it may be composed of massive particles, but searches for these types of particles have been fruitless. An intriguing alternative is that dark matter is exceptionally light, manifesting as theoretical particles known as “axions” or as an exotic form of mass-carrying photon.

With extreme lightness – millions of times lighter than the lightest known particles – dark matter could act in very peculiar ways. Instead of behaving as individual particles, dark matter would behave more like waves spreading throughout the cosmos.

The recent research explores models of ultralight dark matter that are not entirely “dark,” allowing rare interactions with normal matter. Most of the time, these interactions would be imperceptible. However, in rare cases, dark matter and normal matter could interact enough to produce a significant amount of radio waves.

This would occur as a result of dark matter encountering plasma waves and the frequency of the dark matter waves aligning with the frequency of the plasma waves. This resonance would amplify the interaction, producing radiation in the form of radio waves, according to theoretical models.

The Universe is filled with plasmas – all stars emit plasma into space in the form of stellar wind. Theorists had already explored the possibility of radio wave production due to dark matter interacting with environments like the solar corona or the interstellar medium. This new research, however, found a much closer point of interaction: Earth’s ionosphere.

The ionosphere is the thin, hot layer of the upper atmosphere, composed of ionized (charged) particles – a plasma. Naturally, this layer has waves that propagate through it. Researchers found that these waves can interact with hypothetical dark matter waves spreading around Earth.

The radio waves produced by this interaction would be detectable. By using a carefully tuned radio antenna to search for a specific frequency of radio waves over a year, we may be able to capture these waves.

Although this form of dark matter is only theoretical, it would take years, if not decades, to perfect the observation technique. However, if successful, this discovery would be a goldmine, allowing experts to study one of the most mysterious elements of the Universe right at our doorstep.