Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gamma Rays, Lightning and Antimatter, Oh My!

I posted about Red Sprites and Blue Jets before.  Amazing events that occur above thunderstorms, all the time.  It has been known for some time that thunderstorms also produce gamma rays, but now it looks like some of these gamma rays are being produced by antimatter.  Which is produced by lightning in thunderstorms, or more likely the events occurring above the storm,  hence the link to the previous post about what is going on above the clouds.

It's big news in the world of science.  From NASA

Jan. 11, 2011:  Scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected beams of antimatter produced above thunderstorms on Earth, a phenomenon never seen before.

Scientists think the antimatter particles were formed inside thunderstorms in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) associated with lightning. It is estimated that about 500 TGFs occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected.

 We may never look at a thunderstorm the same again.  Science, like Nature, is awesome.

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