Weather so severe it generates antimatter

By Matt Ford

Weather so severe it generates antimatter

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

It turns out thunderstorms pack a much bigger punch than most people think. In the mid-1990s, we found that lightning and the associated electric field above a thunderstorm can be strong enough to produce a gamma ray blast detectable from space. These terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) are believed to occur all over the world at a rate of about 500 per day. Researchers using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have discovered a similar, but previously undetected phenomena: the production of an antimatter beam from the top of these storms.

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