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Antimatter Detected by Fermi?

Posted: March 20th, 2011, 3:15 pm
by Christopher K.
Wow! Fermi, while looking deep into space for exotic matter, has discovered it "underfoot".

According to an announcement at the American Astronomical Society in January, the gamma-ray telescope has detected beams of antimatter shooting up from Earthbound thunderstorms! Antimatter is like regular matter, except with opposite charges from protons and electrons. Matter and antimatter destroy each other and produce gamma rays when they touch.

However, when a high-energy gamma ray hits something it's possible for it to decay into a particle of matter and a particle of antimatter. In this particular scenario electric fields near the top of the storm send electrons streaming upwards. Some hit molecules in the air and create gamma rays. Then a gamma ray can collide with atomic nuclei, decaying into an electron and a positron (the antiparticle of an electron).

More information:
Sky & Telescope, April 2011, pp. 17-18.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST ... torms.html

Re: Antimatter Detected by Fermi?

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 9:02 pm
by Christopher K.
For those who want to pursue this story, here is the home (I think) of the original video from the SVS, along with several others...
https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/10900

Antimatter, red sprites, blue jets. What other mysteries do thunderstorms hold?