Signature of antimatter detected in lightning | Science News

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Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Fermi telescope finds evidence that positrons, not just electrons, are in storms on Earth

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2:39pm, November 6, 2009

WASHINGTON — Designed to scan the heavens thousands to billions of light-years beyond the solar system for gamma rays, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has also picked up a shocking vibe from Earth. During its first 14 months of operation, the flying observatory has detected 17 gamma-ray flashes associated with terrestrial storms — and some of those flashes have contained a surprising signature of antimatter.

During two recent lightning storms, Fermi recorded gamma-ray emissions of a particular energy that could have been produced only by the decay of energetic positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons. The observations are the first of their kind for

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