All the matter that we ordinarily deal with in everyday life is baryonic matter. Baryonic matter is composed of atoms which have a nucleus that is positively charged surrounded by an electron or electrons that are negatively charged. Baryonic matter is also called “ordinary matter” or “normal matter.”
The particles within the nucleus of an atom of baryonic matter are protons and neutrons. Both these particles are categorized as baryons. Thus, the term “baryonic matter.” Baryons are subatomic particles that are composed of three quarks held together by the strong force.
While almost all matter on Earth is baryonic matter, other types of matter occur in our universe, specifically: 1) antimatter and 2) dark matter.
Antimatter includes antibaryons, not baryons. Antibaryons differ from baryons primarily in regard to their charge.
The composition of dark matter, assuming it exists, is not known. But it probably doesn’t include baryons because dark matter probably doesn’t interact with electromagnetic energy (thus, its invisibility to telescopes and radio telescopes), whereas baryons do.
For more information, see “ordinary matter.”« Back to Glossary Index