Giant Cloud of Antimatter Explained

January 14, 2008 — Leave a comment

I always wondered where they get all the antimatter to power the starships in Star Trek. Maybe they get it from the centre of the galaxy. New results from NASA’s INTEGRAL spacecraft, which tracks gamma ray emissions, may have explained the origin of the cloyd of antimatter that seems to be hanging around the centre of the Milky Way, our galaxy.

207804main_antimatter_cloud1_hi.jpg

Originally discovered in the 1970s, the giant cloud of antimatter is 10,000 light years across and gives off te energy of 10,000 Suns, only it shines in the gamma-ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum (it is shown above). Only, no one could explain how it got there, or how it continued to exists, when it ought to be annihilated by all the matter in the region.
It had been suggested that the cloud was the result of dark matter reacting either with itself, or with regular matter. INTEGRAL scientists have deduced the shape of the cloud however, and this has given them the vital clue to deducing the origins of the cloud. Also skewed the the right of the galactic centre are a certain type of binary star system, known as hard low-mass X-ray binaries. These produce positrons and there seem to be enough of them to “suggest that about half and possibly all the antimatter is coming from [the] X-ray binaries”.

NASA Press Release LinkĀ 

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