Thunderstorms Spawn Antimatter
By Thomas H. Maugh II | LATimes.com
To the great surprise of physicists and meteorologists alike, NASAs orbiting Fermi gamma-ray observatory has discovered that thunderstorms are emitting powerful bursts of antimatter into space.
Antimatter is a mirror image of normal matter with unusual properties protons with negative charges, electrons with positive charges, and so on. It was created in equal abundance to normal matter at the beginning of the universe, but was destroyed when it came in contact with the normal matter and is now primarily the subject of fiction: the material that powers the starship Enterprise, the bomb beneath the Vatican in the novel "Angels & Demons," and so on.
Very small amounts have been produced by powerful particle accelerators including CERNs Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, but can be captured for only fractions of a second. Thats why researchers are so astonished to see antimatter being produced by such a common event as lightning.
In retrospect, "we can say, Why didnt we realize that was happening? " said physicist Joseph R. Dwyer of the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla., a coauthor of a paper about the findings that is scheduled to appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Even so, "its surprising that we are seeing so much
. It illustrates the amazing things that thunderstorms can do."
Some indirect evidence in the past suggested that antimatter might be emitted by lightning, added electrical engineer Steven Cummer of Duke University, who studies lightning and the radio emissions from it. "But this is the first time it has been absolutely, unambiguously detected," he said.
Fermi, launched in 2008, detects gamma rays, the highest-energy form of electromagnetic waves a spectrum that includes light rays. When a positron produced by a thunderstorm strikes an electron on the satellite, it releases gamma rays with a characteristic energy of 511,000 electron-volts. Such an event linked to a thunderstorm is known as a terrestrial gamma-ray flash. Fermi has witnessed 130 such events since its launch.
Most such events occurred when the satellite was directly over a storm. But one event, on Dec. 14, 2009, occurred when Fermi was over Egypt and the nearest active storm was in Zambia, about 2,800 miles to the south and well below the satellites horizon.
But the spacecraft was connected to the storm by the Earths magnetic field, Dwyer said. Particles rode up the lines of force and struck the craft. Some went past it and reached what is known as a mirror point, where increasing magnetic-field strength caused the particles to reverse their direction and journey back to strike Fermi 23 milliseconds after the first group.
Researchers still have only the roughest of ideas what is happening inside a thunderstorm when lightning is triggered. What is clear is that electric fields build up and accelerate electrons almost to the speed of light, like a giant particle accelerator in the sky, Dwyer said. The electrons "bump into air atoms and make gamma rays, which blast electrons and antielectrons out of the atmosphere."
Whats interesting, Cummer added, "is if we take what we know is happening and calculate how much antimatter might be produced, its quite a bit less than what was observed
. So clearly, we dont have a lot of the details."
The research was also presented Monday at a Seattle meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
Article from: latimes.com
Fermi Sees Antimatter-Hurling Thunderstorms
Video from: YouTube.com
Thunder and Lightning a rare sight in Iceland - Weather Experimentation Connected with the Norway Aurora Light?
Thunderbolts of the Gods (Video)
Lightning Captured by X-Ray CameraA First
A Social History of Ball Lightning
6-storey Jesus statue struck by lightning, burned to ground (Zeus sought for questioning ;) )
Strange Squid-like Lightning Spotted over France
Scientist Looks to Weaponize Ball Lightning
DARPA: Hacking Nature to Create Weapons of the Gods
Latest News from our Front Page
Confederate History - Dispelling the Myths
History books, the media, the school systems, etc abound in falsehoods and inaccuracies of Confederate and Southern history. This fact sheet will help to clarify and dispell some of these rampant inaccuracies.
MYTH - The War of 1861 - 1865 was fought over slavery.
FACT - Terribly untrue. The North fought the war over money. Plain ...
Gays Rights May Open Door for Pedophile Rights
Democrats have attempted to normalize pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
A recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage may soon allow pedophiles to argue they are suffering discrimination.
âUsing the same tactics used by âgayâ rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals,â writes Jack Minor ...
Government Trolls Are Using âPsychology-Based Influence Techniquesâ On YouTube, Facebook And Twitter
Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll? Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using âpsychology-based influence techniquesâ on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. ...
Artificial Intelligence Takes the Battlefield: Who Is Really Running Jade Helm 15?
Who is really going to be running Jade Helm 15?
There is more to the story than just training for martial law in states designated as âhostile statesâ â already a chilling pretext with overtones of greater federal power that could spiral out of control.
But it seems that it is actually A.I. â artificial intelligence â that is at the helm ...
Robot kills man at Volkswagen plant in Germany
A 22-year-old worker was grabbed by the robot and crushed against a metal plate
A robot has killed a man at a Volkswagen car factory in Germany.
The 22-year-old worker died from injuries he sustained when he was trapped by a robotic arm and crushed against a metal plate.
The man, who has not been named, was part of a team that ...
|More News » |