Thin band of Anti-protons covers Earth- Study

Recently, a study was published in the ‘Astrophysical Journal Letters’, which has confirmed the theoretical work that predicted the Earth’s magnetic field could trap antimatter. A team of researchers led by the University of Bari, for the first time spotted a thin band of anti-matter particles, called anti-protons, enveloping the Earth.

  • This study says that a small number of anti-protons lie between the Van Allen belts of trapped “normal” matter.
  • Van Allen radiation belt is a doughnut-shaped torus of energetic charged particles (plasma) around Earth, which is held in place by Earth’s magnetic field.
  • The matter that forms the Van Allen radiation belt comes from solar wind as well as cosmic rays.
  • The antiprotons were first spotted by the Pamela satellite launched in 2006 to study the nature of Van Allen belts .
  • When Pamela passes through a region called the South Atlantic Anomaly, it sees thousands of times more anti-protons than are expected to come from normal particle decays, or from elsewhere in the cosmos. This is evidence that bands of anti-protons, analogous to Van Allen belts, hold anti-protons in place — at least until they encounter the normal matter of atmosphere, when they “annihiliate” in a flash of light. The band is “the most abundant source of anti-protons near the Earth.