Our solar system might be a lot hairer than previously thought

Earth may be surrounded by hairy dark matter.

A new illustration released by NASA shows that our home planet Earth is surrounded by theoretical filaments of dark matter called “hairs.”

The data on hairy dark matter is based on a study by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Gary Prézeau, that appeared in a 2015 article in the Astrophysical Journal.

Neither dark matter nor dark energy has ever been directly detected, although many experiments try to unlock the mysteries of dark matter, whether from deep underground or in space.

Based on many observations of its gravitational pull in action, scientists are certain that dark matter exists.

According to calculations done in the 1990s, dark matter forms “fine-grained streams” of particles moving at the same velocity and orbit galaxies such as ours. When one of these streams approaches a planet such as Earth, the stream particles focus into an ultra-dense filament, or “hair,” of dark matter. There should be many such hairs sprouting from Earth.

Hairs emerging from planets have both “roots,” the densest concentration of dark matter particles in the hair, and “tips,” where the hair ends. When particles of a dark matter stream pass through Earth’s core, they focus on the “root” of a hair, where the density of the particles is about a billion times more than average.

The study was initially published in a 2015 article in the Astrophysical Journal.

See stories of the future in your inbox every morning.

TRENDING