Questions for “Stars made of antimatter could lurk in our galaxy”

map of Milky Way showing possible antistars

Fourteen celestial sources of gamma rays look like they could be stars made of antimatter. Each potential antistar is a colored dot on this map of the Milky Way. Greener dots are brighter sources; bluer dots are dimmer.

Simon Dupourqué/IRAP

To accompany feature “Stars made of antimatter could lurk in our galaxy


Before Reading:

1.  What are stars and what are they made of?

2.  What is antimatter? Does it really exist?

During Reading

1.  How does antimatter differ from the matter that makes up everything in our lives?

2.  What share of the universe, if any, used to be made of antimatter, according to the story?

3.  What evidence recently emerged for antimatter in space?

4.  How would scientists scout for antimatter in space? What type of tell-tale evidence have they been seeking and what instrument are they using in that search?

5.  What are at least two known sources of gamma rays in space?

6.  How many antistar candidates have emerged thus far? If others exist in our galaxy (the disk-like part), how rare would they be?

7.  Why does Pierre Salati argue that finding antistars could pose “a major blow” for our understanding of the universe?

After Reading:

1.  Based on what you read in this story, how would a world that is made largely or wholly of antimatter differ from ours? In what ways should it be similar to ours?

2.  Scientists are spending a lot of money to investigate the potential existence of antimatter in our universe. Do you think their search for those answers is a wise use of their money and efforts? If not, what space-research answers would you shift their funding into? Explain what’s behind that answer.