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Full Thrust Science Digest....(Narn News Network..)

From: "Mike Wikan" <mww@n...>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 05:43:51 -0400
Subject: Full Thrust Science Digest....(Narn News Network..)

Galaxy unleashes plume of antimatter
 Mysterious cloud extends 3,000 light years above Milky Way's core.
As viewed from earth, the Milky Way galaxy is a spiral of stars seen
edgewise. The antimatter plume rises perpendicularly from the center,
destroying matter in its path.         Earth's galaxy, the Milky
is unleashing a mysterious plume of antimatter - the first such plume
ever seen.         Extending 3,000 light years above the Milky Way's
core, the newly discovered plume is sending astronomers scrambling to
explain why vast quantities of antimatter are present where they
weren't expected to be.         "The origin of this new and
unexpected cloud is a mystery," acknowledges William Purcell, an
astrophysicist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and a
member of the team that announced the discovery this week.        
Antimatter first appeared on paper in 1928 as a mathematical
necessity of quantum mechanics. Five years later, physicists
discovered the first antiparticle - the positron - in lab
experiments.         Positrons, the antimatter counterparts of
electrons, have the same mass and life span as electrons, yet carry
an equal but opposite electrical charge. When the two meet, they
annihilate each other in a burst of gamma radiation. This
"annihilation radiation" carries a unique energy signature that
serves as the tip-off that antimatter is - or was - present.   
Researchers found the antimatter plume while using this radiation as
a proxy for mapping the galaxy's inventory of positrons. The
radiation registered on detectors aboard the Compton Gamma Ray
Observatory, a NASA satellite.         Oddly, the plume didn't have
counterpart below the nucleus. It's unusual to see a feature
extending from a galaxy in only one direction, says James Kurfess,
astrophysicist at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington and
lead investigator for the experiment.         The plume presents two
puzzles, says Charles Dermer, also of the Naval Research Laboratory.
"To have annihilation, you need a source of positrons," he says, "but
you also need regular matter in sufficient density" to give the
positrons something to annihilate. The Milky Way's plume extends into
its halo, a region sparsely populated with matter.         He
suggests that supernovas exploding at the center of the galaxy are
the likely sources of the matter and antimatter in the plume.
Compared with the rest of the galaxy, the nucleus is a hotbed of
stellar explosions. In effect, he says, the core is acting like a
volcano, sending up a plume of matter and antimatter as massive young
stars end their lives in cataclysmic fashion.         Others suggest
the plume has its source in a black hole known as the "Great
Annihilator," which lies a mere 300 light years from the galactic
center. Still others suggest that the plume may be a remnant of a
fireball - the merging of two neutron stars, themselves the extremely
dense remnants of stars that ended as supernovas.

"This is obviously a new and terrifying weapon being tested by those
vile Centauri Warmongers!!"
"The eyes of G'Quon burned with holy fire as the Shadow demons writhed
in rings of flame."

Warleader W'Kan
Narn Regime High Command

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