Fake Banner
    Antimatter Cloud
    By Jim Myres | January 22nd 2008 08:49 PM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Jim

    Education: University of Cincinnati - B.S. 1972 (Before most of you were born) Xavier University, Cincinnati - M.B.A. 1978

    Teaching Experience

    ...

    View Jim's Profile
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109173722.htm

    The above address is a post on Science Daily about an antimatter cloud. This should be of interest to the hard core science types and SiFi fans like myself.

    The post describes an antimatter cloud that surrounds the galactic center. This cloud is about 10,000 light-years across. The European Space Agency’s "Integral" satellite has provided clues to the possible origin of this antimatter cloud. This post is well worth reading.

    The author of this post quotes professor Marvin Leventhal, "I think I can hear a collective sigh of relief emanating from the (high-energy astrophysics) community." This may be so, but from the rest of us science hacks you are hearing a collective "What!" Apparently the "antimatter cloud was discovered in the 1970's by gamma-ray detectors flown on balloons."

    I may be just a science hack, but I have not been living under a rock. I have been reading physics and astronomy articles for the past 20+ years and have never run across any mention of this 10,000 light-year long antimatter cloud. I have no doubt that this cloud is there and that many good men and women have spent entire careers studying this phenomena, but... Searching "antimatter" on the Science magazine web site gives a mixed bag of results ranging from "The universe that sprang from the big bang should have contained equal parts of matter and antimatter. But cosmologists have long know that our cosmic neighborhood is all matter..." (Science, 10/10/97, vol 278, iss. 5336, p 226) to, "For 30 years, astronomers have known that our galaxy creates a steady flow of positrons, the antimatter counterpart of electrons..." (Science, 09/24/04, vol 305, iss 5692, p 1899). Sorry if I missed that "collective sigh of relief."

    Part of my rage should be directed at the SiFi community. I am sixty two years old and I don’t mind telling you up front that I have dressed up like a Klingon and gone to conventions - yes I do have a life - and I will probably go again. How could all the SiFi authors and fans have missed this antimatter cloud that was discovered in the 1970's? There is only one Star Trek book about antimatter, "Antimatter" by John Vornholt (November 1994). In the book "Voyages of Imagination" Mr. Vornholt makes the comment about his book and why he wrote about antimatter, "considering, antimatter is extremely hazardous, rare, and valuable." I am embarrassed for the SIFI community that we didn’t pick up on this antimatter cloud thirty years ago.