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Dark matter

Dark matter represents one of the principal ingredients of the standard model, and its existence is demonstrated by a great number of astronomical observations. Amongst these we recall the rotation curves of spiral galaxies and the masses of galaxy clusters, along with the already mentioned fluctuations of the cosmic microwave background and the large scale distribution of galaxies. It appears clear from these observations that besides a small fraction of "unilluminated" conventional matter, 90% of dark matter must be in the form of massive elementary particles that interact with eachother (and ordinary matter) only via the force of gravity. What these particles might be remains one of the great mysteries of the cosmological model, strictly correlated with problems of fundamental physics and so to the research of the infinitely small. Research aimed at identifying the dark matter particles are both direct and indirect in nature, depending on whether they make use of an interaction with the atoms of a detector, or rely on the secondary particles expected as the result of particle annihilation. This research is mainly the prerogative of particle physics, with complimentary information provided by astronomical observations in the X-ray, optical and millimetric bands.

First detection of the simplest organic acid in the protoplanetary disk surrounding a Sun-like young star

Jul 16, 2018

First detection of the simplest organic acid in the protoplanetary disk surrounding a Sun-like young star Using ALMA, an international group of astronomers have reported the first detection of formic acid towards the TW Hydrae protoplanetary disk, located at only 190 light years from our Sun

The Governor-General of Australia visits INAF in Rome

Jun 27, 2018

The Governor-General of Australia visits INAF in Rome His Excellency the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and his wife, Lady Cosgrove, today visited the Headquarters of INAF, the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics

THESEUS: a new window on the early Universe and the multi-messenger transient sky

May 10, 2018

THESEUS: a new window on the early Universe and the multi-messenger transient sky The European Space Agency announced the three space missions selected for ESA’s fifth medium class mission in its Cosmic Vision science programme. One of them is THESEUS, in which the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics plays a major role