A dead star generated antimatter emissions

Using the Chandra X-ray telescope, astronomers have obtained images of giant streams of matter and antimatter. Their total length exceeds 60 billion km, which is ten times the distance between the Sun and Pluto.

Substance flux produced by J2030 pulsar (visible and X-ray range). Source: NASA / CXC / Stanford Univ./M. de Vries / NSF / AURA / Gemini Consortium

The source of the streams, pictured by Chandra, is an object known as J2030 (PSR J2030 + 4415). It is located at a distance of 1600 light years and is a pulsar — the remnant of a collapsed star, rotating at a speed of three revolutions per second. For masses comparable to the mass of the Sun, its diameter is only a few tens of kilometers.

J2030 is a source of particle flux that moves along the lines of its magnetic field at a speed that is about a third of the speed of light. Observations by astronomers have shown that some of them are positrons: positively charged electrons. When they collide with ordinary electrons, they annihilate with the formation of gamma quanta.

The flow of matter produced by the pulsar J2030 (X-ray range). Source: NASA / CXC / Stanford Univ./M. de Vries

This discovery is really meaningful. The fact is that the vast majority of the Universe consists of ordinary matter. However, scientists regularly find traces of a relatively large number of positrons, which raises the question of their source. After all, one of the answers is pulsars. The combination of their extremely fast rotation and strong magnetic fields leads to the acceleration of particles and the formation of high-energy radiation, which creates pairs of electrons and positrons.

In the case of the J2030, during its movement on the Milky Way, the pulsar caught up with the shock wave generated by it. The interaction between its magnetic field and the magnetic field of the interstellar medium led to the formation of a “nozzle” of magnetic lines, through which leakage of positrons into interstellar space happened.

You can also read about how the Earth collided with the antimatter of a distant galaxy.