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The big accelerator in the sky

Phinney, E. S. (1992) The big accelerator in the sky. Nature, 358 (6383). pp. 189-190. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/358189a0.

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The positron, the antimatter counterpart of the electron, was discovered on 2 August 1932, dramatically and unexpectedly confirming Dirac's new quantum theory of the electron. The positron in question was created by a cosmic ray which happened to end its wanderings around the Galaxy in the Caltech cloud chamber of Carl Anderson. Astrophysical objects, which have been accelerating particles for much longer and to much higher energies than have terrestrial physicists, can be astonishingly efficient. Near the centre of our Galaxy, some object (or objects) can, when it chooses, create 10^(10) tonnes of positrons per second, with very little waste heat. The positrons, of rest-mass energy 511 keV, annihilate with the electrons they meet, often releasing a pair of 511-keV γ-rays. The 20-year search for the source of these positrons takes an unexpected turn on page 215 of this issue.

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Additional Information:© 1992 Nature Publishing Group.
Issue or Number:6383
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150513-094939515
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:57483
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 May 2015 17:15
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 21:50

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