Tag Archives | Antimatter

Thunderstorms Generate Antimatter Beams

Antimatter Cloud (NASA)

Antimatter Cloud (NASA)

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but scientists are reporting that they have seen antimatter beams emitted from thunderstorms. Jonathan Palmer has the story at BBC News:

A space telescope has accidentally spotted thunderstorms on Earth producing beams of antimatter.

Such storms have long been known to give rise to fleeting sparks of light called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. But results from the Fermi telescope show they also give out streams of electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons.

The surprise result was presented by researchers at the American Astronomical Society meeting in the US.

It deepens a mystery about terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, or TGFs — sparks of light that are estimated to occur 500 times a day in thunderstorms on Earth. They are a complex interplay of light and matter whose origin is poorly understood.

Thunderstorms are known to create tremendously high electric fields — evidenced by lightning strikes.

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CERN Scientists Trap ‘Antimatter’ Hydrogen Atoms For The First Time

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ALPHA experiment at CERN

Has science fiction finally started to become science? From Daily Mail:

It was once used to propel Captain Kirk across the stars.

Now scientists say they have captured a sample of real-life antimatter for the first time. In an astonishing breakthrough, a team of British and international physicists were able to ‘trap’ 38 atoms of anti-hydrogen in a laboratory for a fraction of a second.

While the experiment is unlikely to lead to the warp engines, anti-matter drives or the faster than light travel of Star Trek, it could shed light on the nature and origins of the Universe.

Antimatter is the mirror of ordinary matter. Normal atoms are made up of positively-charged nuclei orbited by negatively-charged electrons.
However, their antimatter counterparts are the wrong way round. They have negative nuclei and positively-charged electrons.

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