What is the Difference Between Dark Matter and Anti-matter?
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What is the Difference Between Dark Matter and Anti-matter?

This article was written as a response to the question: Is there a difference between dark matter and antimatter?

Dark matter and antimatter are separate but similarly mysterious concepts in physics which each present their own vexing questions for scientists. Perhaps the most fundamental difference between the two is that much of what we know about dark matter comes from observations of the very large, while much of what we know about antimatter comes from observations at the particle level.

Dark matter

Scientists believe dark matter exists throughout the universe because based on our best calculations using Einstein's equations of gravity, the universe should be much more massive than what all the observable stars and other bright objects would weigh; therefore, scientists believe that there must be more matter out there, we just can't see it. Thus the name dark matter, and its mysterious nature, since our only tool for observing distant matter is light, so if matter does not emit light, we can only make indirect observations and inferences about its properties.

One specific way we've observed dark matter is through a phenomenon called gravitational lensing, in which large gravitational forces actually bend light as it travels through space - we can observe this happening throughout the universe and therefore infer the existence of matter which is creating the large gravitational forces. How much of the universe is comprised of dark matter? Scientists estimate that we can only see 4% of the real mass and energy in the universe. Also, 22% of the universe's mass and energy is estimated to be dark matter, while the remaining 74% is thought to be a related concept, dark energy. Similar to dark matter, dark energy's existence is inferred from indirect observation, but dark energy is thought to contribute to the outward pushing force which is causing the universe to expand.

Antimatter

Antimatter is another strange concept in physics - but unlike dark matter, it's one which we've actually observed in labs. In a nutshell, antimatter is matter that has the opposite charge of matter. For example, an electron is a matter particle which has a negative charge, while a positron (also called an antielectron) is an anti-matter particle which has a positive charge. The cool part about this is that when these two things come into contact with each other, they annihilate each other and release massive amounts of energy. In fact, this interaction is the pure conversion of matter into energy. It is estimated that energy created from matter / anti-matter annihilation would yield 10,000,000,000 times the maximum energy created by chemical energy and 100 times the energy possible through nuclear fusion. The potential applications for antimatter energy are exciting, although far off in terms of feasibility. For example, it would take only a few grams of antimatter to propel a rocket ship from Earth to Mars and it would only take a few minutes. Scientists and fiction writers alike have high hopes for possibilities in interplanetary and interstellar travel based on antimatter energy. Scientists at CERN and Fermilab have created minute amounts of anti-matter in particle accelerators - but with current technologies it takes vastly more energy to create anti-matter than the energy that would be produced by it. So dark matter exists at the large scale, beyond what we can see with our telescopes, while antimatter we know exists based on antimatter particles we've created and observed in labs. There is no direct relationship between the two that we know of. More detailed reading:

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Comments (10)

Kevin, there is some speculation or fear that if scientists screw up they could annihillate our planet. Let's hope they know what they're doing while they.... experiment?

Mess around and create some particle-swallowing 'particle' that eats the core of the Earth and all that will be left is that one single singularity particle in the orbit that once used to be Earth... Naw ... they say it can't happen because if it COULD have, it WOULD have (many time over) and there would be a evidence of it (while reassuring, this is not a very reasonable explanation they give..) .

High energy particle physics is my field. I enjoyed reading your simplified presentation. Great! Write on!

Antimatter plays a role in the Dan Brown book Angels and Demons. It's not a very good novel, but there it is.

Mickey

With the ammounts of antimatter the scientists are actually able to create an explosion caused by the antimatter shouldn't do much more than a simple bomb could...a simple very very big bomb able to destroy cities but not much more.

patrick

dam but image weapons like guns that just shoot antimatter that would be a very nasty weapon !!!! but not only wepons it would be good for....... their is thousands of things you could power that would be nice but they have only been able to keep anti matter for 17mins and what would be the costs of it i mean its better than having nuclear radiation unless because of the fusion to antimatter and matter and making energy would it give off radiation but if it just gave off non-ionizing radiation then it would be fine and have insane amounts of power why dont they just get some thing to collide something whit or touch something and try it to make more it would only make sense. and i wonder what would happen to a person if they touched it sounds like it would have very bad effects !

Tushar Pandey

I want to know in deep regarding dark matter and antimatter plz help.

saving it for my son to read, thanks.

Coming from a spiritual perspective on this, black holes are gateways to other universes and there are over 100 universes mayhap more.   There is so much more than we here on earth know or realize.  And why not other earths with humans?  why are we so egotistical to think we are alone in the  universe?  There are other earths being formed right now and some of us are helping formulate them.  

I invite to see my book  ( Spanish only): Universos: Los Rostros de Dios  (Universes: the Faces of Good) at my Blog Verdad- Blog or at Free.Books.Net ( Spanish section) is a historical and critical recopilation of diverses ideas,tehories,postulations on the big question: how arose ,or how was created the Universe. It includes scientific, mithyc, philosophical,metaphysical and religous explanations on the matter of the Vere Early Universe and his evolution...

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