Universe  ID: 12505

Fermi Detects Gamma-ray Puzzle from M31

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has found a signal at the center of the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy that could indicate the presence of the mysterious stuff known as dark matter. The gamma-ray signal is similar to one seen by Fermi at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Gamma rays are the highest-energy form of light, produced by the universe's most energetic phenomena. They're common in galaxies like the Milky Way because cosmic rays, particles moving near the speed of light, produce gamma rays when they interact with interstellar gas clouds and starlight.

Surprisingly, the latest Fermi data shows the gamma rays in Andromeda-also known as M31-are confined to the galaxy's center instead of spread throughout. To explain this unusual distribution, scientists are proposing that the emission may come from several undetermined sources. One of them could be dark matter, an unknown substance that makes up most of the universe.

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Scott Wiessinger (USRA): Lead Producer
Claire Saravia (NASA/GSFC): Lead Science Writer
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Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

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