Left-handed cosmic magnetic field could explain missing antimatter

Left-handed cosmic magnetic field could explain missing antimatter
An artist’s concept of the Fermi Gamma ray Space Telescope (FGST) in orbit. Credit: NASA.

The discovery of a 'left-handed' magnetic field that pervades the universe could help explain a long standing mystery – the absence of cosmic antimatter. A group of scientists, led by Prof Tanmay Vachaspati from Arizona State University in the United States, with collaborators at the University of Washington and Nagoya University, announce their result in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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 or positron has the same mass as its conventional counterpart, but a positive rather than negative charge.

In 2001 Prof Vachaspati 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).

FGST, launched in 2008, observes (electromagnetic radiation with a shorter wavelength than X-rays) from very distant sources, such as the found in many large galaxies. The gamma rays are sensitive to effect of the 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 to measure its properties. The data shows not only a helical field, but show 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.

Left-handed cosmic magnetic field could explain missing antimatter
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

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.

Prof Vachaspati commented: "Both the planet we live on and the star we orbit are made up of 'normal' matter, and though it features in many science fiction stories, 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.


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More information: "Intergalactic magnetic field spectra from diffuse gamma-rays." MNRAS (July 11, 2015) Vol. 450 3371-3380 DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv308
Citation: Left-handed cosmic magnetic field could explain missing antimatter (2015, May 14) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-05-left-handed-cosmic-magnetic-field-antimatter.html
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May 14, 2015
I'm a layman, but can it be exactly the oposite, that the fact that there is much more matter than antimatter leads to emergence of left handed magnetic field?

May 14, 2015
Chicken or the egg?

Energy (fields) or Matter?

May 14, 2015
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!

May 14, 2015
I'm a layman, but can it be exactly the oposite, that the fact that there is much more matter than antimatter leads to emergence of left handed magnetic field?


You beat me to it. Exactly my sentiment as well. Are we looking at an effect that stems from the same cause as the antimatter imbalance, or is this the actual cause? The mystery deepens.

May 14, 2015
As a left-handed gyre, I truly appreciate these sort of articles...:-)

May 14, 2015
Antimatter hates left handed people, so it goes into hiding, that's how this goes right?

May 14, 2015
typical right wing media trying to prove reality has a left bias

May 15, 2015
The ongoing development of the universe is not random and entropic except in the minds of "pure" mathematicians and other pessimists.

May 15, 2015
Contemporary fundamental science is in absurd situation to trying to explain the world in which we live, denying by axiom the Creator, which is the reason for its existence. Because this we will listen only impotent attempts for explanation of physical reality, speculation, guesswork and scientific sounding but meaningless terminology In scientific comunities is not tolerated the faith in the Creator, so all their attempts to explain the physical reality are infertile. It seemsthat many scientists artisans are more interested in regular salary and social comfort than the truth.

May 15, 2015
The only one claiming a complete description of reality here is you viko.

The physorg folks have taken away the article rating thingy, if it was still there I definitely would have rated this article a 5.

May 16, 2015
viko_mx claims so stupidly
Contemporary fundamental science is in absurd situation to trying to explain the world in which we live, denying by axiom the Creator, which is the reason for its existence
HOW does your claimed creator communicate ?

viko_mx claims
Because this we will listen only impotent attempts for explanation of physical reality, speculation, guesswork and scientific sounding but meaningless terminology In scientific comunities is not tolerated the faith in the Creator, so all their attempts to explain the physical reality are infertile
Suggest you know something 1000's of trained people don't, are you trained - what does the prophet of your claimed creator claim ?

viko_mx claims
It seemsthat many scientists artisans are more interested in regular salary and social comfort than the truth
Prove it, or are you again claiming to be Moses re-incarnated ?

Wyy do you NEVER answer questions, you appear very impotent, do you visit the chemist ?

May 16, 2015
swordsman claims
It is first necessary to show why matter does not have both right and left hand electromagnetic fields
Please please swordsman look at electrodynamics & various proven & irrefutable principles
https://en.wikipe...and_rule

As I advised you earlier EM & EMF is well explored, understood & tested :-)

swordsman claims
Normal electromagnetic radiation has field waves that alternate between right and left-hand orientations periodically at a very fast rate
Really ?
Please check & think on it ?
https://en.wikipe...agnetism

swordsman claims
Normal electromagnetic radiation cannot occur without it
Do you understand WHAT you are claiming ?

swordsman claims
This is more likely a measurement problem, rather than weird theories of this type
Basis for your claim is what precisely ?

This might help you, re moving fields & how to handle it...
https://en.wikipe..._paradox

May 17, 2015
Contemporary fundamental science is in absurd situation to trying to explain the world in which we live, denying by axiom the Creator, which is the reason for its existence. Because this we will listen only impotent attempts for explanation of physical reality, speculation, guesswork and scientific sounding but meaningless terminology In scientific comunities is not tolerated the faith in the Creator, so all their attempts to explain the physical reality are infertile. It seemsthat many scientists artisans are more interested in regular salary and social comfort than the truth.

At least some people are TRYING to explain it rather than just saying - "Magic" by a god...

May 18, 2015
Contemporary fundamental science is in absurd situation to trying to explain the world in which we live, denying by axiom the Creator, which is the reason for its existence. Blah, blah, blah

At least some people are TRYING to explain it rather than just saying - "Magic" by a god...

And this brings something else to mind...
If a god didn't want us to figure out how or why he did something, why do we have the curious brains we have and the intelligence to pursue that curiousity? (And none of that "free will" shit, either.)
Just sit back, relax and enjoy the created Universe?
Nahhh... I'd say he/she/it WANTED us to figure it out eventually.
Anyway, relaxing is what tropical islands, rum, tequila and whiskey are for...

May 20, 2015
And it seems the use of the terms "left-handed" and "right-handed" would be more visually understandable if they use "clockwise" and counter-clockwise".

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