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Dark Matter's Dark Origins

In this brief Space Ponder essay, I explore a recent publication by reputable physicists suggesting the possibility of a second big bang following the initial one. Referred to as the 'dark big bang,' this event is hypothesized to be the origin of dark matter. The detailed paper is accessible through the provided link. 2302.11579.pdf (arxiv.org)


The standard Hot Big Bang model successfully explains the origins of visible matter in our universe. However, the source of the elusive dark matter remains a mystery. An intriguing alternative called the "Dark Big Bang" has recently been proposed to account specifically for the genesis of dark matter.



In this new model, dark matter arises not from the Hot Big Bang that birthed familiar particles like protons and photons, but from a separate, later phase transition within a hidden "dark sector." The Dark Big Bang occurs when a hypothetical scalar field tunnels out of a high-energy metastable state into a lower-energy vacuum state. This sudden decay releases energy that produces dark matter particles, analogous to the particle production in the Hot Big Bang.



Constraints suggest the Dark Big Bang happened early in cosmic history, recently after the Hot Big Bang. The dark matter particles born in this cataclysmic event range from relatively light "dark WIMPs" to extraordinarily massive "dark-zillas" up to 1012 GeV. Unlike conventional WIMPs, these particles only interact gravitationally, avoiding tight experimental constraints.


Intriguingly, self-interacting or warm dark matter can emerge naturally from a Dark Big Bang. This opens up prospects to uncover dark matter's origins through subtle effects on galactic structures. The Dark Big Bang is also predicted to produce potentially detectable gravitational waves that could be spotted by current and upcoming pulsar timing experiments.


The associated "dark radiation" from the phase transition contributes to the effective number of neutrino species, offering another probe of the Dark Big Bang through precision cosmology. While many details remain open, the Dark Big Bang offers an elegant alternate origin story for the dark matter that dominates galaxies and the universe itself. If true, we may soon uncover dark matter's surprising dark origins writ large across the cosmos.


I'll be reporting more on this soon. Space Ponder out. 🫡



 

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