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Not long after the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope took to the sky in 2008, astrophysicists noticed that it was picking up a steady rain of gamma rays pouring outward from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This high-energy radiation was consistent with the detritus of annihilating dark matter, the unidentified particles that constitute 84 percent of the matter in the universe and that fizzle upon contact with each other, spewing other particles as they go. If the gamma rays did in fact come from dark matter, they would reveal its identity, resolving one of the biggest mysteries in physics. But some argued that the gamma rays could have originated from another source.

Now a new analysis of the signal claims to rule out all other plausible explanations and makes the case that the gamma rays trace back to a type of particle that has long been considered the leading dark matter candidate — a weakly interacting massive particle, or WIMP. Meanwhile, a more tentative X-ray signal reported in two other new studies suggests the existence of yet another kind of dark matter particle called a sterile neutrino.

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