"Thunderstorms Emit Beams of Antimatter, NASA Discovers"

"HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- For the first time, antimatter has been observed occurring naturally on Earth, as scientists using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have documented beams of antimatter produced above thunderstorms.

The scientists think the antimatter particles are formed inside thunderstorms in terrestrial gamma-ray flashes associated with lightning. They estimate that about 500 gamma-ray flashes occur daily worldwide, but most go undetected.

"These signals are the first direct evidence that thunderstorms make antimatter particle beams," said Michael Briggs, a member of Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He presented the team's findings last week at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle."

Environment News Service had the story January 18, 2011.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011