Thunderstorms Spawn Antimatter

'This is a fundamental new discovery about how our planet works'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2011 2:22 AM CST
Updated Jan 12, 2011 7:06 AM CST
Lightning lights up the night sky of Roswell, N.M. as a thunderstorm passes through town.   (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record, Mark Wilson)

(Newser) – Scientists have been amazed to discover that thunderstorms on Earth send bursts of antimatter into space. The phenomenon was spotted by NASA researchers using the Fermi space telescope, the Los Angeles Times reports. Scientists at CERN have only been able to produce antimatter—the mirror image of matter, with the components of its atoms in reverse—in tiny amounts for a fraction of a second.

"This is a fundamental new discovery about how our planet works," a lightning researcher tells National Geographic. "The idea that any planet has thunderstorms that can create antimatter and launch it into space is something out of science fiction. The fact that our own planet is doing it is truly amazing." (Read more antimatter stories.)

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