Researchers at Cern in Switzerland have proved the merits of a way to test antimatter as a source of the long-postulated “anti-gravity”. How antimatter responds to gravity remains a mystery; it may “fall up” rather than down. Now researchers reporting in Nature Communications have made strides toward finally resolving that notion.
Why the Universe we see today is made overwhelmingly of matter, with only tiny amounts of antimatter, has prompted a number of studies to try to find some difference between the two. One significant difference between the two may be the way they interact with gravity - antimatter may be repelled by matter, rather than attracted to it. But it is a difference that no one has been able to test - until the advent of Cern’s Alpha experiment.
Alpha is an acronym for Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus - an experiment designed to build and trap antimatter “atoms”. In 2011 the Alpha team showed they could keep antihydrogen atoms trapped for 1,000 seconds. The team has now gone back to their existing data on 434 antihydrogen atoms, with the antigravity question in mind.
“In the course of all the experiments, we release (the antihydrogen atoms) and look for their annihilation,” said Jeffrey Hangst, spokesperson for the experiment. “We’ve gone through those data to see if we can see any influence of gravity on the positions at which they annihilate - looking for atoms to fall for the short amount of time they exist before they hit the wall,” he told BBC News.
The team has made a statistical study of which antihydrogen atoms went where - up or down - and they are able to put a first set of constraints on how the anti-atoms respond to gravity. The best limits they can suggest is that they are less than 110 times more susceptible to gravity than normal atoms, and less than 65 times that strength, but in the opposite direction: antigravity. In short, the question remains unanswered - so far.
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Solar flares are among the most powerful explosions in the solar system; the largest can release as much energy as a billion one-megaton nuclear bombs.
Gamma-rays and X-rays are the most energetic forms of light, with a particle of gamma ray light at the top of the scale carrying millions to billions of times more energy than a particle of visible light.
Antimatter is rare in the present-day universe. However, it can be created in high-speed collisions between particles of ordinary matter, when some of the energy from the collision goes into the production of antimatter. Antimatter is created in flares when the fast-moving particles accelerated during the flare collide with slower particles in the Sun’s atmosphere. Antimatter annihilates normal matter in a burst of energy, inspiring science fiction writers to use it as a supremely powerful source to propel starships. Antimatter is often called the “mirror image” of ordinary matter, because for every type of ordinary matter particle, an antimatter particle can be created that is identical except for an opposite electric charge or other fundamental properties
.According to flare theory, these collisions happen in relatively dense regions of the solar atmosphere, because many collisions are required to produce significant amounts of antimatter. Scientists expected that the antimatter would be annihilated near the same places, since there are so many particles of ordinary matter to run into. “Antimatter shouldn’t get far,” said Dr. Gerald Share of the Naval Research Laboratory
The largest stars die in explosions more powerful than anyone thought possible—some triggered in part by the production of antimatter
Image: Highest-energy supernovae might look quite spectacular from a planet orbiting the exploding star, but any civilization would most likely be obliterated. Credit: Illustration by Ron Miller
In recent years several supernovae have turned out to be more powerful and long-lasting than any observed before.
Archival images showed that the stars that gave rise to some supernovae were about 100 times as massive as the sun: according to accepted theory, stars this big were not supposed to explode.
Some supernovae may have been thermonuclear explosions triggered by the creation of pairs of particles of matter and antimatter.
The first generation of stars in the universe, which created the materials that later formed planets, may have exploded through a similar mechanism.
fjall asked: What is the difference between dark matter and anti-matter?
The most recognizable, and possibly most important difference between dark matter and antimatter, is that what we know of dark matter comes from observations of the very large, and what we know about antimatter comes from observations at the particle level.
Dark matter is believed to exist because, using Einstein’s equations of gravity, the universe supposedly should be much more massive than what all the observable objects weigh. That missing matter is dark matter. Because dark matter is, for us, invisible for the most part, one of the ways it has been observed is when gravitational lensing happens. This phenomenon happens when observable light is bent due to large, unseen gravitational forces, while traveling through space. According to scientists, we can only see about 4% of the real mass and/or energy within our universe, and 22% of the universe’s mass and/or energy is estimated to be dark energy.
Antimatter is different, as it has actually been physically observed within labs, and is not just an estimate. It’s basically just matter that has the opposite charge of matter, which when matter and antimatter come in contact with each other, proves to release massive amounts of energy due to self annihilation. [Example, a positron, or an anti-electron is an antimatter particle with a positive charge, while an electron is a matter particle with a negative charge.] “ It is estimated that energy created from matter / anti-matter annihilation would yield 10,000,000,000 times the maximum energy created by chemical energy and 100 times the energy possible through nuclear fusion. The potential applications for antimatter energy are exciting, although far off in terms of feasibility.”
Simply put, dark matter exists unseen on a ‘larger than life’ scale within the universe, larger than what we can see with our telescopes, and antimatter exists on a basis of very small scales, based on antimatter particles created and observed within our labs. There are no known direct relations between the two.
I hope this answered your question!
Revealing Our Antimatter Universe—1st Measurement Ever of an Antimatter Atom
“We may soon know why the universe seems to have a preference for matter over antimatter.An international team of physicists working on the ALPHA experiment at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, has successfully used microwaves to manipulate antihydrogen atoms. Their work could help answer fundamental questions about the universe. The accomplishment, by physicists working on the ALPHA experiment at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, is a first step towards more detailed measurements that will reveal whether matter and antimatter are true mirror images.”
Read more here.
Source: Milky way scientists
“Dark Stars” of the Early Universe —Were They Powered by Antimattter?
” Dark matter stars: not an attempt to destroy the rebels in Star Wars IX, but gigantic stars fueled by the annihilation of dark matter. The “dark star” hypothesis proposes that the very first stars, formed when the universe was far smaller than it is now, had a greater dark matter density to play with.
Of all the incredibly odd properties dark matter has, one of the most interesting is how it acts as its own antiparticle - if two dark particles hit they’ll explode into pure energy. Why doesn’t this cause the entire universe to explode? Because dark particles are thought to be WIMPs, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles - they find it very hard to even interact with each other, never mind anything else. “
Source: Milky way scientists