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Mystery Of Milky Way’s Antimatter Solved: Here Is What It Is

First Posted: May 24, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

The mystery of the Milky Way’s antimatter has finally been solved by scientists. A research team led by physicists from the Australian National University (ANU) has found that antimatter particles in the middle of the galaxy may have formed in a supernova explosion -- due to two white dwarf stars colliding with each other millions of years ago.

Incidentally, antimatter is the matter where the electrical charge is reversed. For example, the antiparticle of an electron is a positron, whereas the antiparticle for a proton is an antiproton. Furthermore, a burst of energy is released when a particle of matter meets its antimatter force. Subsequently, they annihilate each other.

Astronomers have tried to find out the source of the vast quantities of antimatter within the Milky Way since the early 1970s, Seeker reported. According to one of the researchers, Dr. Roland Crocker, Milky Way’s antimatter gave off a characteristic gamma ray signal that suggested that 10^43 positrons were being annihilated in the Milky Way every second.

"The gamma-rays tell us that there is a lot of antimatter being annihilated within the galaxy," Dr. Crocker said, as per The Sydney Morning Herald. "What has not been clear is what sort of process has produced the antimatter."

The researcher added that for the past many years various theories have been forwarded to explain the presence of the antimatter. One among the ideas suggested that the antimatter originates from the processes related to the presence of dark matter. Another idea indicated that antimatter was associated with the big black hole that is located right in the center of the Milky Way.

However, according to the recent findings published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the antimatter is generated from collisions between stars in one of the oldest parts of the Milky Way. Moreover, this discovery throws light on the early processes that impacted the creation of the galaxy.

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