Ever since scientists have theorized that dark matter exists, concrete evidence of the elusive substance has continued to confound them. However, now, using data from a number of GPS satellites, professor Ben Harris from Texas University has mentioned that there might be a halo of strange matter surrounding Earth which is causing our planet to be heavier than first believed.
Dark matter is a type of matter hypothesized in astronomy and cosmology to account for a large part of the mass that appears to be missing from the universe. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. It is otherwise hypothesized to simply be matter that is not reactant to light. Instead, the existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe. What very much interesting is dark matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe.
In 2009, researchers at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, argued that changes in the speeds of space probes as they flew past the Earth could be explained by dark matter bound by Earth’s gravity. But using data from a number of GPS satellites, Ben Harris found that the data indicate the strength of Earth’s gravitational pull. Later, Harris related the gravitational pull to the planet’s current mass 5,972,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 kg, established by the International Astronomical Union, and found that our planet is 0.005 and 0.008 per cent heavier than the mass we know now. According to Harris, there might be a “halo of strange matter” surrounding Earth which is causing our planet to be heavier than believed.
Professor Harris is now planning to factor in changes to the satellites’ orbits due to the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon. If his calculations prove to be correct, satellites could help unlock some longstanding mysterious surrounding dark matter.
Source: Daily Mail