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Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes Create Antimatter

NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has detected beams of antimatter launched by thunderstorms. Acting like enormous particle accelerators, the storms can emit gamma-ray flashes, called TGFs, and high-energy electrons and positrons. Scientists now think that most TGFs produce particle beams and antimatter.

For additional animations showing bremsstrahlung and pair production gamma ray reactions, go here.

For more visualizations showing Fermi's TGF detections, go here,here,and here.

For animations of the Fermi spacecraft and matter/antimatter, go here,and here.


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More information on this topic available at:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/fermi-thunderstorms.html

TGFs produce high-energy electrons and positrons. Moving near the speed of light, these particles travel into space along Earth's magnetic field. Watch this video on the NASAexplorer YouTube channel.    TGFs produce high-energy electrons and positrons. Moving near the speed of light, these particles travel into space along Earth's magnetic field.

Watch this video on the NASAexplorer YouTube channel.

For complete transcript, click here.
Duration: 2.8 minutes
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Interactions with matter can produce gamma rays and vice versa. So-called    Interactions with matter can produce gamma rays and vice versa. So-called "bremsstrahlung" gamma rays result when high-energy electrons traveling close to the speed of light become deflected by passing near an atom or molecule. In pair production, a gamma ray passing through the electron shell of an atom transforms into two particles: an electron and its antimatter opposite, a positron.
Duration: 21.6 seconds
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Animated diagram showing the behavior and composition of TGF emissions. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/J. Dwyer/Florida Inst. of Technology    Animated diagram showing the behavior and composition of TGF emissions.

Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/J. Dwyer/Florida Inst. of Technology
Duration: 12.4 seconds
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A TGF produces gamma rays (magenta) as well as high-energy electrons (yellow) and positrons (green). This simulation tracks a TGF and its particle beams from their origin altitude of 9.3 miles (15 km) to 373 miles (600 km), beyond Fermi's orbit. Credit: Joe Dwyer/Florida Inst. of Technology    A TGF produces gamma rays (magenta) as well as high-energy electrons (yellow) and positrons (green). This simulation tracks a TGF and its particle beams from their origin altitude of 9.3 miles (15 km) to 373 miles (600 km), beyond Fermi's orbit.

Credit: Joe Dwyer/Florida Inst. of Technology
Duration: 10.0 seconds
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Sidebar: How thunderstorms launch particle beams into space    Sidebar: How thunderstorms launch particle beams into space

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On Dec. 14, 2009, while NASA's Fermi flew over Egypt, the spacecraft intercepted a particle beam from a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) that occurred over its horizon. Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor detected the signal of positrons annihilating on the spacecraft -- not once, but twice. After passing Fermi, some of the particles reflected off of a magnetic    On Dec. 14, 2009, while NASA's Fermi flew over Egypt, the spacecraft intercepted a particle beam from a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) that occurred over its horizon. Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor detected the signal of positrons annihilating on the spacecraft -- not once, but twice. After passing Fermi, some of the particles reflected off of a magnetic "mirror" point and returned.

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On Dec. 14, 2009, while NASA's Fermi flew over Egypt, the spacecraft intercepted a particle beam from a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) that occurred over its horizon. Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor detected the signal of positrons annihilating on the spacecraft -- not once, but twice. After passing Fermi, some of the particles reflected off of a magnetic    On Dec. 14, 2009, while NASA's Fermi flew over Egypt, the spacecraft intercepted a particle beam from a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) that occurred over its horizon. Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor detected the signal of positrons annihilating on the spacecraft -- not once, but twice. After passing Fermi, some of the particles reflected off of a magnetic "mirror" point and returned. No Labels.

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Fermi's position relative to the TGF it detected.    Fermi's position relative to the TGF it detected.

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Artist interpretation of the cloud of electrons and positrons passing through the Fermi satellite and causing it to emit gamma rays.    Artist interpretation of the cloud of electrons and positrons passing through the Fermi satellite and causing it to emit gamma rays.

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Artist interpretation of electrons accelerating upwards from a thunderhead.    Artist interpretation of electrons accelerating upwards from a thunderhead.

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Map of all terrestrial gamma-ray flashes detected by Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor through the end of 2010. For animated version, go here,    Map of all terrestrial gamma-ray flashes detected by Fermi's Gamma-ray Burst Monitor through the end of 2010.

For animated version, go here,

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This image from the Meteosat 9 weather satellite was taken on Dec. 14, 2009, about 7 minutes after Fermi detected positrons from a TGF. No storms are present over Egypt, where Fermi was located at the time of the event, but thunderstorms are plentiful over Zambia. Credit: SSEC/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison    This image from the Meteosat 9 weather satellite was taken on Dec. 14, 2009, about 7 minutes after Fermi detected positrons from a TGF. No storms are present over Egypt, where Fermi was located at the time of the event, but thunderstorms are plentiful over Zambia.

Credit: SSEC/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison



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Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?10706
Animation Number:10706
Completed:2011-01-06
Animators:Walt Feimer (HTSI) (Lead)
 Scott Wiessinger (UMBC)
 Joseph Dwyer (FIT)
 Chris Meaney (HTSI)
Video Editor:Scott Wiessinger (UMBC)
Narrator:Karen Fox (ASI)
Producer:Scott Wiessinger (UMBC)
Writers:Francis Reddy (SPSYS)
 Scott Wiessinger (UMBC)
Platform/Sensor/Data Set:Fermi
Series:Narrated Movies
 Fermi
 Goddard Shorts
 Astrophysics Animations
 Astrophysics Simulations
 Astrophysics Stills
 Astrophysics Features
Goddard TV Tape:G2010-083 -- Fermi TGF Antimatter
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. However, each image should be credited as indicated above.
 
Keywords:
SVS >> Antimatter
SVS >> Electron
SVS >> Gamma Ray
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Lightning
SVS >> Satellite
SVS >> Astrophysics
SVS >> GLAST
SVS >> Edited Feature
SVS >> Gamma Ray Observatory
SVS >> Fermi
DLESE >> Narrated
NASA Science >> Universe
Science paper:http://www.agu.org/journals/pip/gl/2010GL046259-pip.pdf
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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