China's Dark Matter Particle Explorer Releases Data to Aid in Search of Dark Matter

Researchers released the first set of gamma photon data obtained by the Dark Matter Particle Explorer.
Loukia Papadopoulos

In May of 2021, China's Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Collaboration directly observed a spectral softening of helium nuclei at about 34TeV for the first time ever. Now, we have more good news from the satellite-based telescope.

China Daily reported that the first batch of data from the space tool, also known as Wukong or Monkey King, has finally been released and it will aid in the search for the mysterious dark matter

The National Space Science Data Center and the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported that the new data was recorded from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2018, and included 99,864 gamma photons. The two institutions also added that more data sets will be released in the future.

Gamma photons do not carry an electric charge like protons and electrons. This makes them less susceptible to being influenced by the magnetic field of other celestial bodies and events. This in turn means that they could carry more accurate information about dark matter and the origins of cosmic rays.

It is presumed that DAMPE  has collected data on around 10.7 billion high-energy cosmic rays since its launch in 2015. 

The satellite-based telescope is taking a closer look at high-energy gamma rays and electrons in order to study the ever-elusive properties of dark matter. It is also studying the possible origins of cosmic rays by observing high-energy electrons and heavy nuclei in the TeV energy range.

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DAMPE was launched on December 17, 2015, and is the result of a collaboration among research institutions and universities in Italy, Switzerland, and China. The tool was particularly designed to look for the indirect decay signal of a hypothetical dark matter candidate called weakly interacting massive particles.

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