Scientist Have Seen The “Rarest Event Ever Recorded”
Scientists have observed what is being called the “rarest event ever recorded” in the ongoing hunt for that most elusive of particles, dark matter.
They performed this incredible observation using a dark matter detector known as XENON1T, run by the XENON Collaboration project based in Italy. It recorded the radioactive decay of a xenon-124 atom, a process that takes a mind-bogglingly long time. Xenon is a noble gas. This particular type of xenon has a half-life of 18 billion trillion years. That’s more than 1 trillion times longer than the current age of the universe. The observation is reported in detail in Nature.
“We actually saw this decay happen. It’s the longest, slowest process that has ever been directly observed, and our dark matter detector was sensitive enough to measure it,” co-author Ethan Brown, an assistant professor of physics at Rensselaer, said in a statement. “It’s amazing to have witnessed this process, and it says that our detector can measure the rarest thing ever recorded.”