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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.

Farewell to Giovanni Bignami

May 26, 2017

Farewell to Giovanni Bignami Great astrophysicist and former President of INAF and ASI, Bignami passed away suddenly while in Madrid where he was carrying out his research activities.

INAF researcher involved in the discovery of a millisecond pulsar

May 20, 2017

INAF researcher involved in the discovery of a millisecond pulsar An international team of astronomers led by Ivan Zolotukhin of the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) of Toulouse, also including Matteo Bachetti, a researcher of the INAF in Cagliari, has discovered that this pulsar is at the beginning of the recycle phase, i.e. the process that causes slow and "turned-off” neutron stars to turn on again as “millisecond pulsar”.

Cassini Scientist for a Day: the competition for young scientists sets new records

May 20, 2017

Cassini Scientist for a Day: the competition for young scientists sets new records New record numbers for the 15th edition of Cassini Scientist for a Day, the international competition launched by NASA and promoted in Europe by the European Space Agency (ESA), open to lower and upper secondary school students. In Italy, 181 students participated in the competition, sending a total of 81 essays to a panel of researchers and experts in science communication.