Your free twice-weekly fix of stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.
“We know empirically that there is about one-billion times more matter than antimatter in the Universe and with the current physics we know, the Standard Model, this imbalance can’t be explained,” wrote MIT physicist Silviu-Marian Udrescu in an email to The Daily Galaxy. “To explain it,” he continues, “a violation of certain fundamental symmetries is required, but we have not observed the required violations yet. We don’t know the sources of this violation. We just know that these violations are required to explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe.
“Reheating was an insane time, when everything went haywire,” says David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and professor of physics at MIT. As the Big Bang theory goes, reports MIT, somewhere around 13.8 billion years ago the universe exploded into being, as an infinitely small, compact fireball of matter that cooled as it expanded, triggering reactions that cooked up the first stars and galaxies, and all the forms of matter that we see (and are) today.
This week’s newsletter covers news reports from “Why aren’t we talking more about UFOs?” asks Megan McArdle in the Washington Post to the first matter in the universe may have been a perfect liquid to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, may actually be a colossal glob of dark matter.
The first “theory” of the dark cosmos was embodied in the Greek god of darkness, Erebus, one of the primordial deities born out of Chaos, the primeval void, foreshadowing the contemporary, emerging reality of the dark side of our universe. Enter Nobel-Prize Laurate, physicist Sir Roger Penrose, and his Erebon field theory, a novel explanation of dark matter that suggests that the Big Bang was not the origin of our universe. Despite ongoing searches, no signs of a dark matter particle have turned up.
“Just because we happen to live in a region that is overwhelmingly dominated by matter doesn’t preclude the existence of other regions of space that are instead dominated by antimatter,” observes Dan Hooper, head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.