Active galactic nuclei are the brightest objects in the universe and among the most puzzlin’. Astrobods think they are supermassive black holes that spew out huge amounts light over some or all of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Now a coupla Ruskies are saying that active galactic nuclei are capable of converting dark matter into high energy protons. Here’s how. Yurii Pavlov at The Herzen University in St Petersburg and his tovarich Grib, hypothesise that dark matter particles are big critturs, about 15 times heavier than protons, and that they can decay into pairs of other particles.
Near an active galactic nucleus, one of these particles can get sucked into the black hole, and accelerated to huge energies in the process, while the other escapes. But some of those that escape will collide with incoming particles creating collisisons of mind boggling energy.
It is in these collisions, says Pavlov, that ordinary visible protons can form, accept they’d have huge energies beyond anything that can be created on Earth.
Interesting idea but ah know what you’re thinkin’: this is all too neat ‘n’ theoretical. What ya need is good hard evidence, right?
Pavlov says he’s got it in the form of ultra high-energy cosmic rays, particles such as protons that smash into the Earth having been accelerated to such extreme energies that astrobods have yet to figure out how it’s done.
Now get this: data from the Auger telescope and other places have recently determined that ultra high-energy cosmic rays come from active galactic nuclei.
Could active galactic nuclei be converting dark matter into ultra high-energy cosmic rays?
I know ya’ll will want a lil bit more evidence than this. Fair enough but a lotta crazier ideas have gained a popular followin’ on less.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0712.2667: Do Active Galactic Nuclei Convert Dark Matter into Visible Particles?