Yes -- Superpowers, Here I Come!: Scientists Discover Thunderstorms Produce Antimatter

January 12, 2011


Antimatter my ass, those are UFOs!

Scientists, having accidentally pointed a telescope at thunderclouds instead of into outerspace (great job, guys!), discovered that lightning may give off antimatter, effectively explaining the long-running mystery of why getting struck can kill a person. BOOM -- VAPORIZED!

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.

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.

Electrons in storm regions are accelerated by the fields, reaching speeds near that of light and emitting high-energy light rays - gamma rays - as they are deflected by atoms and molecules they encounter.

These flashes are intense - for a thousandth of a second, they can produce as many charged particles from one flash as are passing through the entire Earth's atmosphere from all other processes.

Somebody's gonna be playing on the monkey-bars during the next thunderstorm! Me, dummy, me. So like, how does this superpower thing work? Do you get the power you're thinking about the hardest when you're blasted? "Come on x-ray vision or invisibility. X-ray vision or invisibility. X-ray vision or -- anything you touch turns to fish-sticks..." *KA-KRAAACK!!* Fuuuuuuuuuuuu.

Antimatter caught streaming from thunderstorms on Earth [bbcnews]

Thanks to Skarett and TOM THE BOMB, who both have superpowers but haven't discovered them yet. Well they can't be that good, just sayin'.

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