Seeing Dark Stars
Dark matter, the unseen fabric believed by scientists to hold the very threads of the universe, can only be seen by its gravitational influence on the stars and galaxies that are physically tangible within the limitations of our sight. The search for this elusive essence has provided a murky, yet consistent path for researchers, and a new study has emerged to calculate the possible forms of dark matter, leading to the discovery of dark stars.
According to Paolo Gondolo of the University of Utah, dark stars, which aren't actually dark -- they emit visible light but the reacting matter in the star's core is made up of dark matter -- can be used as a central hub to study the influences and very nature of dark matter.
The beauty of dark matter is that "candidate particles are their own antimatter partner," and when these two particles meet they cancel each other out, producing a burst of energy in the form of light. In the current setting of the universe, the field is too spread out for these interactions to occur, but after the Big Bang moment the conditions were ripe. It is during these primordial times of our universe that these dark star candidates would be found, colliding and converting their mass to energy and creating a bright beacon.
The sucessor to the Hubble Space Telescope is the James Webb Space Telescope (planned for watch in 2014) is believed to be powerful enough to observe these dark stars as well as hypothetical particles such as the axion, which "have no electric charge, a small mass," and are resistant to interacting with ordinary matter. Another candidate for observation would be WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles) and a particle called the neutralino, which "is predicted by supersymmetric theory, which posits that every particle has a symmetric partner particle that we haven't yet discovered."