Antimatter Thunderstorms!

Terrestrial Gamma Ray Burst!

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 in a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), a brief burst produced inside thunderstorms and shown to be associated with lightning. It is estimated that about 500 TGFs occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected.

"These signals are the first direct evidence that thunderstorms make antimatter particle beams," said Michael Briggs, a member of Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

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5 Responses:

  1. Jeff says:

    You know, if you squint at this just right, it sorta makes the idea that Nikola Tesla caused the Tunguska Blast just a teensy bit more plausible. And that tickles me.

    • DFB says:

      Very teensy. We didn't know until the last couple decades that more than 1/4 of all asteroids are spherical, meaning they are loose conglomerations of rubble with the kind of total surface area which could cause a Tunguska style blast, unlike the solid irregular forms we see in the largest through telescopes.

  2. Hadlock says:

    So matter cannot be destroyed (except by antimatter) or created, but antimatter can both be created and destroyed?

    • DFB says:

      Matter and antimatter can both be converted to and from energy. To is much easier than from, and the total quantity E+mc2 must always be preserved.

      • DFB says:

        Less important new blog bug report: sup and sub tags preview correctly but don't post (as is, in retrospect, clearly indicated by the list of 15 supported tags.)