Physics Questions for AMS
antimatter .. cold dark matter .. the age of cosmic rays .. strangelets .. gamma ray astronomy .. earth's particle environment .. microquasars .. primordial black holes ... the unknown
AMS measures the "fingerprints" of astrophysical objects in high-energy particles In general, AMS is trying to study the sources of cosmic rays. These sources include ordinary things like stars and supernovae, as well as (perhaps!) exotica like quark stars, dark-matter annihilations, and galaxies made entirely of antimatter. Each astrophysical source emits a particular type of cosmic rays; the rays migrate through space in all directions; we detect the ones that pass near Earth. With careful theoretical modeling, we figure out how astrophysical objects leave their "fingerprints" in cosmic rays, and we figure out how to measure that fingerprint (or the absence of it!). Sometimes the fingerprint is the presence of a whole new type of particle (like an anti-helium or strangelet); sometimes, the fingerprint is an unusual feature in an energy spectrum (like a dark matter or microquasar signal). Click on the links above (or in the navigation bar to the left) to learn more about AMS's physics goals!