A hypothetical form of matter, not to be confused with antimatter, that would balance out the fact that ordinary matter has a slight left-hand bias in its interactions at the subatomic level; in other words, mirror matter would restore parity to the Universe. The idea that every particle in nature has an elusive, unseen mirror partner was first put forward in the 1980s. Then, in 1999, came the suggestion1 that a small number of MACHOs, which had been detected on the outskirts of our Galaxy, might be stars composed of this exotic stuff.
Mirror matter would be subject to its own distinct set of physical laws. Although it would feel gravity in the ordinary way and therefore be able to condense into mirror stars and planets, its versions of the three other basic forces – electromagnetism and the strong and weak forces – would be different. One consequence is that mirror stars would be invisible because they would not emit electromagnetic radiation. The only way their presence could become known to us is through their gravitational microlensing effects and their subsequent identification as MACHOs. Theoretical considerations suggest that the maximum mass of a stable mirror star would be about 0.5 solar mass – just right to explain the dozen or so MACHOs that have been singled out as candidates. Some researchers, notably Robert Foot (see external site below) at the University of Melbourne, Australia, have gone further and suggested that the presence of mirror matter in the Solar System might explain the Tunguska event, possible anomalous movements of the deep space probes Pioneer 10 and 11, and even some unusual material at the bottom of crater floors on Eros. The possibility of mirror stars and planets opens up the bizarre possibility of mirror organisms which would be completely invisible to us (and we to them). For the latest on this subject, go here.
In response to my question (originally supplied by Dan Handlin) "Are mirror matter particles in any way related to supersymmetry partner particles?" Robert Foot kindly answered as follows:
Clearly, the basic properties of dark matter (dark and stable) are not explained by SUSY but motivate hypothesis (2) & (3).
External sitesMirror Matter on the asteroid Eros?
Related category PARTICLE PHYSICS
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