Thunderstorms and Anti-matter

13 Jan 2011

This story was sent in by two members, Gary and Lawrence, having picked it up from two different sources, being and January 11th. It seems that thunderstorms in the atmosphere, in this instance one over Zambia, produced gamma rays and beams of energetic particles of anti-matter, as viewed by NASAs Fermi gamma-ray Space Telescope onboard an orbiting satellite. A paper in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters will have the full story but the press release says  that thunderstorms produce anti-matter which is launched into space - and if earth does this and so too must the other planets. Positrons and electrons form in terrestrial gamma-ray flashes produced inside thunderstorms, it continues, but the process of how this is actually done is not as yet fully understood. When positrons inter-act with electrons they produce gamma-rays as observed by Fermi (there is a short video clip).