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A magnetic field of particular strength and orientation could cause neutrons to be lost from a system into a parallel world of mirror particles.
Italian physicists have hypothesized the existence of parallel matter to explain an experimental anomaly that cannot be interpreted using standard physics.
Their findings could shed light on the nature of dark matter, which is believed to make up more than 80 percent of our universe’s mass even though it is completely invisible.
Zurab Berezhiani and Fabrizio Nesti at the University of l’Aquila reanalyzed data from French research involving ultra-cold neutron (UCN) trapping, which showed that the particles were being lost from the system they were stored in.
They hypothesized that the neutrons could be rapidly oscillating between parallel worlds, transitioning into their invisible mirror twins and back in a matter of seconds.
Based on this assumption, they found the results point to the presence of a magnetic field in our planet’s surroundings that allows the particles to flip between dimensions.
“This anomaly can be interpreted as oscillation of neutrons to mirror neutrons with a timescale of few seconds, in the presence of a mirror magnetic field order 0.1 Gauss at the Earth,” the scientists noted.
If these mirror particles are actually dark matter, then when our solar system passes through a mirror molecular cloud, a mirror magnetic field would develop.
Alternatively, the Earth could even capture mirror matter, generating a magnetic field, if the interactions are strong enough between normal matter and dark matter.
“This result, if confirmed by future experiments, will have [the] deepest consequences for fundamental particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology,” the researchers wrote in their study.
The research was published in European Physical Journal C this month and can be accessed here.
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