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"Mystery of the Missing Antimatter" --Solved by the Magnetic Field That Spans the Cosmos?

 

 

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The discovery of a 'left-handed' magnetic field that pervades the universe could help explain a long standing mystery – the absence of cosmic antimatter. Planets, stars, gas and dust are almost entirely made up of 'normal' matter of the kind we are familiar with on Earth. But theory predicts that there should be a similar amount of antimatter, like normal matter, but with the opposite charge. For example, an antielectron (called a positron) has the same mass as its conventional counterpart, but a positive rather than negative charge.

In 2001 Tanmay Vachaspati from Arizona State University published theoretical models to try to solve this puzzle, which predict that the entire universe is filled with helical (screw-like) magnetic fields. He and his team were inspired to search for evidence of these fields in data from the NASA Fermi Gamma ray Space Telescope (FGST).

A group of scientists, led by Vachaspati, with collaborators at the University of Washington and Nagoya University, announce their result in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

FGST, launched in 2008, observes gamma rays (electromagnetic radiation with a shorter wavelength than X-rays) from very distant sources, such as the supermassive black holes found in many large galaxies. The gamma rays are sensitive to effect of the magnetic field they travel through on their long journey to the Earth. If the field is helical, it will imprint a spiral pattern on the distribution of gamma rays.

Vachaspati and his team see exactly this effect in the FGST data, allowing them to not only detect the magnetic field but also to measure its properties. The data shows not only a helical field, but also that there is an excess of left-handedness - a fundamental discovery that for the first time suggests the precise mechanism that led to the absence of antimatter.

For example, mechanisms that occur nanoseconds after the Big Bang, when the Higgs field gave masses to all known particles, predict left-handed fields, while mechanisms based on interactions that occur even earlier predict right-handed fields.

Illustration of the Fermi Gamma ray Space Telescope (FGST) map of the sky with the central band removed to block out gamma rays originating in the Milky Way. Gamma rays of different energies are represented by dots of various colors – red dots represent arrival locations of very energetic gamma rays, green dots represent lower energy, and blue dots represent lowest energy. The new analysis looks for spiral patterns in the distribution of gamma rays within patches on the sky, with the highest energy gamma ray at the center of the spiral and the lower energy gamma rays further along the spiral. A helical magnetic field in the universe gives an excess of spirals of one handedness - and FGST data shows an excess of left-handed spirals. Credit: Hiroyuki Tashiro. Click for a full size image

Prof. Vachaspati commented: "Both the planet we live on and the star we orbit are made up of 'normal' matter. Although it features in many science fiction stories, antimatter seems to be incredibly rare in nature. With this new result, we have one of the first hints that we might be able to solve this mystery."

This discovery has wide ramifications, as a cosmological magnetic field could play an important role in the formation of the first stars and could seed the stronger field seen in galaxies and clusters of galaxies in the present day.

The image at the top of the page shows colliding matter and antimatter. Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

The Daily Galaxy via RAS

Comments

Perhaps this explains the strange history of the blue Norwegian spiral light?

In "A Theory of the Relativistic Fermionic Spinrevorbital" (http://www.academ...ls.or... {You can assess manuscript free by clicking 'Full Text PDF'}, I postulate that magnetism holds even so-called 'point particles' like electrons together! "Spin is an aspect of the most fundamental particles: quarks and leptons." " the spin is thought to contribute to the stability of such point particles against their self internal repulsions and self disintegrations." by the Little Effect then there should be a magnetic field (Left Handed) to organize there formations! An opposing magnetic field (Right Handed) would form electrons with opposite spin (antielectron). There appears more matter than antimatter in the Universe. So there should be a remnant Left Handed magnetic field. It is important to note that a Prof (Vachaspati) of Arizona State University predicted such asymmetric Left handed magnetic field in 2001! RBL predicted the Little Effect in 2000!

on a very simple level :-
1) is this field static or alternating?
2) if alternating what is its frequency \ wavelength?
3) what is its spatial source?
4) what is its power source?

Non-stupid question:

If there are universe-spanning magnetic fields, and the universe is not a large hunk of iron (permanent magnet), where are the electric currents that MUST be driving the persistent magnetic fields so-observed?

This question needs to be answered.

And if you say "they don't exist," or "they don't need to exist," you clearly don't understand physics / electromagnetism. Go back to Electromagnetism 101.

"...all steady magnetic fields in the Universe are generated by circulating electric currents of some description. Such fields are solenoidal: that is, they never begin or end, and satisfy the field equation

nabla * B = 0

This, incidentally, is the second of Maxwell's equations."
http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/em/lectures/node35.html

"...steady electric and magnetic fields cannot generate themselves. Instead, they have to be generated by stationary charges and steady currents. So, if we come across a steady electric field we know that if we trace the field-lines back we shall eventually find a charge. Likewise, a steady magnetic field implies that there is a steady current flowing somewhere. All of these results follow from vector field theory (i.e., from the general properties of fields in three-dimensional space), prior to any investigation of electromagnetism. "
http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/em/lectures/node37.html

"...all magnetic fields encountered in nature are generated by circulating currents. There is no fundamental difference between the fields generated by permanent magnets and those generated by currents flowing around conventional electric circuits. In the former, case the currents which generate the fields circulate on the atomic scale, whereas, in the latter case, the currents circulate on a macroscopic scale (i.e., the scale of the circuit)."
http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/302l/lectures/node77.html

Seemingly, if we live in a universe pervaded at the largest scales by magnetic fields, we must also live in a universe pervaded by electric currents at those same large scales.

This observation / problem isn't going to be hand-waved away...

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