Aug 8, 2011

Earth's (Invisible) Ring

If you grew up wishing you lived on Saturn, Jupiter or Uranus just so that you could look up into the sky to see supercool rings going 'round your world, I've got good news for you: Earth has a ring too!  But don't rush outside with your fancy camera just yet, as our ring is invisible.

Yes, along with the cloud of positrons that's floating above the atmosphere, Earth also has an invisible ring of anti-protons hovering in the Van Allen radiation belt.  Anti-protons are, shockingly enough, the anti-matter counterpart to protons, just as positrons are the ying to the electron's yang.    New Scientist has the story, in which they posit that this newfound collection of naturally occurring anti-matter could be used to fuel future generations of spacecraft.

So it looks like someone finally made an honest woman out the planet.  My money's on Mercury.  He's such a smooth talker...

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