Hurled Antimatter

The title of a recent NASA press release caught my eye:

NASA’s Fermi Catches Thunderstorms Hurling Antimatter Into Space

The very existence of antimatter is just so weird; particles called positrons taking the place of the familiar electrons, the supposition that matter and antimatter mutually annihilate each other if they come into contact… the whole concept is difficult to comprehend and counter-intuitive.

According to the above-linked press release, the “hurled” antimatter is connected with lightning bursts and gamma-ray activity. I suppose that we should be glad that the antimatter is ejected upwards rather than downwards!




Filed under Natural History

5 responses to “Hurled Antimatter

  1. Virginia

    Did you pursue the fermi link within the article? It has a terrific video of of the image captured and interpreted. There are several others that are well-worth watching also. Thanks.

  2. I hadn’t followed that link until you mentioned it, Virginia. The video is quite fascinating. Here’s the link:

    Fermi Video

    Thanks, Virginia, for the suggestion!

  3. Darrell

    I’m still not convinced that this is antimatter. If a mere lightning strike can generate it, then why not some stellar objects ?

  4. A difficult question to answer, Darrell! I have to say that I have a tendency to believe, at least for the time being, statements promulgated by people smarter than I am — the scientific process culls and winnows the chaff, given time.

    And “a mere lightning strike”? Strokes of lightning are among the most powerful manifestations of energy any of us are ever likely to witness.

  5. Darrell

    Or maybe a positron doesn’t really count as matter? So, maybe positrons but not total anti matter with anti neutrons and anti protons?

    Also hasn’t this (positrons) been done in high powered cyclotrons? I’m really rusty on this anymore.

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