Neutrons may be traveling from our universe into parallel worlds and back again, according to a new theory that explains a rather odd phenomenon.
Experiments at ultra-low temperatures carried out by Anatoly Serebrov at the Institut Laue-Langevin in France have revealed a phenomenon known as neutron loss, whereby neutrons appear to vanish for short periods.
Now, theoretical physicists Zurab Berezhiani and Fabrizio Nesti of Italy's University of l'Aquila, Italy, have reanalysed the experimental data and come up with a possible explanation.
They've shown that the loss rate of very slow free neutrons appears to depend on the direction and strength of the magnetic field applied, an anomaly that can't be explained by known physics.
What could explain this finding, though, is a hypothetical parallel world consisting of 'mirror particles'. Each neutron would have the ability to transition into its invisible mirror twin and back, oscillating from one parallel universe to the other.
The probability of such a transition happening was predicted to be sensitive to the presence of magnetic fields, and could therefore be detected experimentally.
The authors say that the neutron-mirror-neutron oscillation could take place within just a few seconds, consistent with the experimental results.
If true, the theory would mean that the Earth is surrounded by a mirror magnetic field with a strength of 0.1 Gauss. Such a field could have been built up as the planety captures mirror particles floating around in the galaxy as dark matter.