Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Plasma and electricity in space. Failure of gravity-only cosmology. Exposing the myths of dark matter, dark energy, black holes, neutron stars, and other mathematical constructs. The electric model of stars. Predictions and confirmations of the electric comet.

Moderators: MGmirkin, bboyer

Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Birkeland » Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:35 pm

Fermi telescope finds evidence that positrons, not just electrons, are in storms on Earth

By Ron Cowen

Web edition : Friday, November 6th, 2009

Washington — Designed to scan the heavens thousands to billions of light-years beyond the solar system for gamma rays, the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has also picked up a shocking vibe from Earth. During its first 14 months of operation, the flying observatory has detected 17 gamma-ray flashes associated with terrestrial storms — and some of those flashes have contained a surprising signature of antimatter.

During two recent lightning storms, Fermi recorded gamma-ray emissions of a particular energy that could have been produced only by the decay of energetic positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons. The observations are the first of their kind for lightning storms. Michael Briggs of the University of Alabama in Huntsville announced the puzzling findings November 5 at the 2009 Fermi Symposium.

It’s a surprise to have found the signature of positrons during a lightning storm, Briggs said.

The17 flashes Fermi detected occurred just before, during and immediately after lightning strikes, as tracked by the World Wide Lightning Location Network.

During lightning storms previously observed by other spacecraft, energetic electrons moving toward the craft slowed down and produced gamma rays. The unusual positron signature seen by Fermi suggests that the normal orientation for an electric field associated with a lightning storm somehow reversed, Briggs said. Modelers are now working to figure out how the field reversal could have occurred. But for now, he said, the answer is up in the air.

Recording gamma-ray flashes — which have the potential to harm airplanes in storms — isn’t new. The first were found by NASA’s Compton Gamma-ray Observatory in the early 1990s. NASA’s RHESSI satellite, which primarily looks at X-ray and gamma-ray emissions from the sun, has found some 800 terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, Briggs noted.


http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic ... _lightning
"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see" - Ayn Rand
User avatar
Birkeland
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Osmosis » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:24 pm

It this gamma radiation from anti-matter, or is it synchrotron radiation? :idea: :idea: :)
Osmosis
 
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Birkeland » Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:03 pm

Nah, it's more likely dark antimatter from another dimension ejected from local micro black holes that popped out of spacetime when gravity driven lightning struck a magnetic hole in the fabric. If enough money is thrown into research, mathematical scientists could drill a multiverse portal. We may even find God hiding on the other side.
"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see" - Ayn Rand
User avatar
Birkeland
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Farsight » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:41 am

This is very interesting, Birkeland. Has anybody heard of the Dirac string trick? That's a 720-degree rotation and it's related to the electron, see http://www.daviddarling.info/encycloped ... trick.html. With the spin 1/2 you can think of an electron in terms of a moebius strip. If you undo a moebius strip this: O → U → __ you're removing 360 degrees of rotation. If you then keep going and remove another 360 degrees of rotation like this __ → ∩ → O you can then stick it back together to make a moebius strip with the opposite twist. What does that relate to? A positron. The rotations relate to neutrinos. If these positrons in lightning are produced in any way equivalent to this, it could be the discovery of the century. Think of a power plant that turns electrons inside out to make positrons, and then annihilates them with electrons. I should talk to these guys.
Farsight
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:39 pm

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby StevenO » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:47 am

Please read carefully:

During two recent lightning storms, Fermi recorded gamma-ray emissions of a particular energy that could have been produced only by the decay of energetic positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons. The observations are the first of their kind for lightning storms.


and remember Karl Popper:
Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.


Since when are positrons the only possible source of gamma-rays?
First, God decided he was lonely. Then it got out of hand. Now we have this mess called life...
The past is out of date. Start living your future. Align with your dreams. Now execute.
User avatar
StevenO
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby StevenO » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:51 am

Birkeland wrote:Nah, it's more likely dark antimatter from another dimension ejected from local micro black holes that popped out of spacetime when gravity driven lightning struck a magnetic hole in the fabric. If enough money is thrown into research, mathematical scientists could drill a multiverse portal. We may even find God hiding on the other side.

You nailed it!

Or...no, off course it must be this Higgs particle coming back from the future to prevent it's discovery. Prove me wrong with string theory.
First, God decided he was lonely. Then it got out of hand. Now we have this mess called life...
The past is out of date. Start living your future. Align with your dreams. Now execute.
User avatar
StevenO
 
Posts: 894
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby jjohnson » Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:55 pm

I am not sure why the signature of the detected gamma rays by Fermi can only have been created by positron-electron annihilation, since I an no physicist. Have they directed Fermi toward Jupiter or Saturn, which planets have much larger electrical storms than Earth, to compare their data? What is in the signature that so uniquely identifies its source mechanism?

Here's a part of what Wiki says about this general type of radiation:

In astrophysics

The dominant luminous component in a cluster of galaxies is the 107 to 108 Kelvin intracluster medium. The emission from the intracluster medium is characterized by thermal Bremsstrahlung. Thermal Bremsstrahlung radiation occurs when the particles populating the emitting plasma are at a uniform temperature and are distributed according to the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution

where speed, v, is defined as

The bulk emission from this gas is thermal Bremsstrahlung. The power emitted per cubic centimeter per second can be written in the compact form[5]

with cgs units [erg cm−3 s−1] and where 'ff' stands for free-free, 1.4x10−27 is the condensed form of the physical constants and geometrical constants associated with integrating over the power per unit area per unit frequency, ne and ni are the electron and ion densities, respectively, Z is the number of protons of the bending charge, gB is the frequency averaged Gaunt factor and is of order unity, and T is the global x-ray temperature determined from the spectral cut-off frequency

above which exponentially small amount of photons are created because the energy required for creation of such a photon is available only for electrons in the tail of the Maxwell distribution.
This process is also known as Bremsstrahlung cooling since the plasma is optically thin to photons at these energies and the energy radiated is emitted freely into the universe.


Bremsstrahlung (literally, German, "braking radiation") is caused by decelerating electrons, although it can be applied widely to any acceleration of electrons (adding or subtracting energy in quantum packages), including synchrotron radiation. Since lightning storms clearly contain energy at sufficiently high levels to accomplish this level of interaction, it shouldn't be too surprising to find some gamma ray production.
jjohnson
 
Posts: 1147
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:24 am
Location: Thurston County WA

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby mharratsc » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:41 pm

"During two recent lightning storms, Fermi recorded gamma-ray emissions of a particular energy that could have been produced only by the decay of energetic positrons, the antimatter equivalent of electrons."


For one thing- I'll bet dollars to doughnuts these guys haven't ever done any research into lightning, nor any sort of electrical phenomena. They were told in their textbooks that a particular frequency band in the gamma range is "only caused by matter-antimatter annihilation" (which they read during a break between speakers at the Star Trek convention they were attending).

More to the point- you know that these yahoos have been told that lightning is nothing more than static electricity that forms in clouds... so there is no way (in their Universe) that there could be enough power in terrestrial lightning to account for what they detected.

However, if they knew that the Earth's atmosphere is part of an electrical circuit with the Sun (which they would've known had they bothered to keep up on the news in their field of employment), and could add 2+2 and arrive at a whole number (is there an officially sanctioned theoretical formula to add those sums?)- they might begin to realize that there is a whole lot more energy behind lightning phenomena than they originally thought. :P


Mike H.
Mike H.

"I have no fear to shout out my ignorance and let the Wise correct me, for every instance of such narrows the gulf between them and me." -- Michael A. Harrington
mharratsc
 
Posts: 1405
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:37 am

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Birkeland » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:33 pm

Farsight wrote:Has anybody heard of the Dirac string trick? That's a 720-degree rotation and it's related to the electron, see http://www.daviddarling.info/encycloped ... trick.html. With the spin 1/2 you can think of an electron in terms of a moebius strip. If you undo a moebius strip this: O → U → __ you're removing 360 degrees of rotation. If you then keep going and remove another 360 degrees of rotation like this __ → ∩ → O you can then stick it back together to make a moebius strip with the opposite twist. What does that relate to? A positron. The rotations relate to neutrinos. If these positrons in lightning are produced in any way equivalent to this, it could be the discovery of the century. Think of a power plant that turns electrons inside out to make positrons, and then annihilates them with electrons.

Well, that would certainly be something else than fusion - speaking of which in relation to the möbius strip, Max Planck Institute is currently building a stellarator called Wendelstein 7-X.

IPP Projects
Wendelstein 7-X

The Wendelstein 7-X stellarator, now being built at the Greifswald Branch of IPP, will test a magnetic field optimised to overcome the difficulties of previous stellarator concepts. The quality of plasma equilibrium and confinement will be comparable to that of a tokamak.

The predecessor, Wendelstein 7-AS (1988 - 2002), the first experiment of the new generation of "Advanced Stellarators", was putting this concept for an improved magnetic field to the first test. The further developed follow-up device, Wendelstein 7-X, is now to demonstrate the reactor relevance of the new stellarators.

Image

http://www.ipp.mpg.de/ippcms/eng/pr/for ... index.html
"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see" - Ayn Rand
User avatar
Birkeland
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby jjohnson » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:55 pm

Mike: so right! :P

as to
quality and equilibrium comparable to a tokomak


I'll just let that speak for itself, and add cost as a likely comparable attribute, while they are at it.
"It's damned we be, Capt'n; but with such faint praise!"
:roll:

Meanwhile the Plasma Fusion group marches steadily on.
jjohnson
 
Posts: 1147
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:24 am
Location: Thurston County WA

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby jjohnson » Sun Nov 08, 2009 11:16 pm

On a more serious note, in 1992, in Physics of the Plasma Universe, Peratt writes,
"Plasmas are prodigious producers of electromagnetic radiation" (p.2); "Lightning is a natural plasma resulting from electrical discharges in the earth's lower troposphere" (p.3); "most emissions at [gamma and X-ray) wavelengths is likely to be produced by electrons with energies in excess of 100 eV" (p.X); "An electrical discharge is a sudden release of electric or magnetic stored energy {which} generally occurs when the electromagnetic stress exceeds some threshold for breakdown that is usually determined by small scale properties of the energy transmission medium. As such discharges are local phenomena and are usually accompanied by violent processes such as rapid heating, ionization, the creation of pinched and filamentary conduction channels, particle acceleration, and the generation of prodigious amounts of electromagnetic radiation... On earth, lightning is another example of the discharge mechanism at work where electrical energy is stored in clouds whose volume may be of the order of 3000 cubic kilometers...[and]..is released in a few cubic meters of discharge channel." (p.22).


In 2003, The English professional society, Institute of Electrical Engineers, published The Lightning Flash, IEE Power and Energy Series #34. Temperatures associated with both initial leader strokes and return lightning strokes (going back up the ionised channel opposite the initial stroke are typically in the 30,000 Kelvin range, with electron densities of between 10^17 to 10^18 particles/cc. (pp163, 164; ¶ 4.6.3.3.3 and Figure 4.12).

Here is a link to a short video of a professor linking lightning strikes to gamma ray production in 2005.
http://videos.howstuffworks.com/duke-university-news-and-communications/4157-gamma-rays-and-lightning-video.htm
He has an interesting footnote regarding the production of a lightning stroke at the end, as well, but not a definitive answer.

So there are plausible, published sources by engineering professionals connecting gamma ray production to lightning strokes dating back at least 18 years. None of these sources used positron-electron annihilation as the "only possible mechanism" for the production of gamma rays, although all seem to think that there is no reason that precludes gamma ray production under the normal plasma conditions in a lightning stroke. By cosmic plasma standards, this involves a miniscule discharge. The sun's photosphere involves more and higher everything, and conditions in cosmic plasma pinches which may have a radius of a light year or so and teraAmps of current and tera electronVolt temperatures are much larger yet. I'm not sure why this is news at this time. I think it is the finding that they think positrons may be associated with storms is what causes the gamma rays. If so they either have found something unique about these gamma rays which strongly implies positrons, or they have forgotten that other scientists have been explaining their detection and presence for nearly 2 decades without requiring positrons to provide the level of energy to accelerate particles to such energies. Sure, there may be some positrons in storms, and some of those may result in electron-positron annihilations, and some of those may result in gamma rays, but that is not overwhelming evidence that this is the only possible explanation of all the gamma ray production by lightning.

If they have detected positrons in storms, maybe they should ask if the same plasma conditions in lightning, which routinely can produce gamma rays, might just contribute to some positron production as a plasma side effect.
jjohnson
 
Posts: 1147
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:24 am
Location: Thurston County WA

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Birkeland » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:54 am

Anthony Watts:

Antimatter signature spotted in Earth’s lightning

Personally, I think this has to do with thunderstorms being essentially linear accelerators, vertical SLAC’s if you will. Huge charge differentials from top of cloud to bottom makes for a nice particle slingshot. There’s plenty of opportunity for antimatter (positrons) to be created in energetic collisions from particles coming out of the tops of thunderstorms. Sprites and blue jets for example, may be indicators for energetic particles.

Image

It could also be very energetic photons from lightning as seen in the diagram below. At the high photon energies (twice the rest energy of electrons at 511 keV) and above 1.022 MeV positron-electron pair production may take place. Getting energies of 1.022 million electron volts certainly seems easy enough in thunderstorms. – Anthony

Image

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/08/a ... lightning/
"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see" - Ayn Rand
User avatar
Birkeland
 
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby solrey » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:35 am

This looks like a pretty good paper from 2000, it's a long pdf at 150 pages, but appears to be pretty thorough.

"Relativistic Runaway Electrons Above Thunderstorms".

A three-dimensional Monte Carlo model of the uniform relativistic runaway electron
breakdown in air in the presence of static electric and magnetic fields is developed
and used to calculate electron distribution functions, avalanche rates and the direction
and velocity of avalanche propagation. We also derive the conditions required for an
electron with a given momentum to start an avalanche in the absence of a magnetic
field. The results are compared to previously developed kinetic and analytical models
and our own analytical estimates, leading to the conclusion that the avalanche rates
used in many early models are overestimated by a factor of ∼10.
The Monte Carlo simulation results are used in a fluid model of a runaway electron
beam in the middle atmosphere accelerated by quasi-electrostatic fields following a
positive lightning stroke. We consider the case of lightning discharges which drain
positive charge from remote regions of a laterally extensive (>100 km) thundercloud,
using a cartesian (translationally symmetric in a horizontal direction) two-dimensional
model. Unlike the cylindrically-symmetric model, this model can be applied to a
case of a geomagnetic field with arbitrary direction. In particular, we consider the
case of a thunderstorm located at ∼45◦ geomagnetic latitude. We also consider a
cylindrically symmetric model with a vertical axis of symmetry, constrained to a
vertical geomagnetic field.


In both models, the optical emission intensities produced by the runaway electrons
or secondaries produced by them are found to be negligible compared to the emissions
produced by thermal electrons heated in the conventional type of breakdown. The
calculated γ-ray flux is of the same order as the terrestrial γ-ray flashes observed by
the BATSE detector on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.
The energetic electrons leaving the atmosphere undergo intense interactions with
the background magnetospheric plasma, leading to rapid nonlinear growth of Lang-
muir waves. Based on the energy and pitch angle distribution of the runaway electron
beam determined as a function of the intensity of the parent lightning and the ge-
omagnetic latitude, the pitch-angle scattering of the electrons due to beam-plasma
interaction during their propagation along the geomagnetic field line is estimated.
The beam electrons are strongly scattered by the waves in both pitch angle and
energy, leading to the formation of an isotropic thermal distribution with a typical
energy of ∼1 MeV within one interhemispheric traverse along the Earth’s magnetic
field lines. While those electrons within the loss cone precipitate out, most of the
electrons execute bounce and drift motions, forming detectable trapped curtains of
energetic electrons surrounding the Earth.
Electrons with pitch angles below the loss cone encounter the Earth’s atmosphere
at the conjugate point, are scattered and produce light, ionization and γ-ray emis-
sions, much like a beam of precipitating auroral electrons. A Monte Carlo approach is
used to model the interaction of the downcoming electrons with the conjugate atmo-
sphere, including the backscattering of electrons as well as the production of optical
emissions, enhanced secondary ionization and γ-ray emissions. Results indicate that
these conjugate ionospheric effects are detectable and may be used to quantify the
runaway electron mechanism.


I think these Fermi characters are trying to obfuscate the fact that cosmic gamma rays with the same spectral signature are likely produced by plasma discharge phenomena. I mean, it took like 20 seconds to type, search, click and find a plethora of research papers dealing with gamma-ray's and lightning and it seems to me that the energy spectrum they detected a couple of times, could be produced by other mechanisms besides positron-electron annihilation.
“Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality"
Nikola Tesla
User avatar
solrey
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:54 pm

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby Farsight » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:58 am

This is good stuff guys.

Just a thought: has anybody heard of any situation where an electron is effectively "broken", as per proton/proton collisions?
Farsight
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:39 pm

Re: Signature of antimatter detected in lightning

Unread postby solrey » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:28 am

It could also be very energetic photons from lightning as seen in the diagram below. At the high photon energies (twice the rest energy of electrons at 511 keV) and above 1.022 MeV positron-electron pair production may take place. Getting energies of 1.022 million electron volts certainly seems easy enough in thunderstorms. – Anthony


So they detected energies of at least 1 MeV, which they apparently interpret as only being caused by electron-positron annihilation. In the paper I linked previously, it has this to say:

The detected terrestrial γ-ray flashes (TGF) have time duration of the order of 1 ms (Figure 1.3),
consist of photons with energies of 20 keV to 2 MeV, and exhibit a hard spectrum
consistent with bremsstrahlung
[Nemiroff et al., 1997]. Since these bursts are asso-
ciated with thunderstorm centers and have been associated with individual lightning
flashes [Inan et al., 1996b], they may be caused by the relativistic electrons acceler-
ated by thunderstorm-related electric fields
. The fact that the γ-photons produced at
low altitudes (<30 km) experience strong Compton scattering and attenuation due
to the photoeffect before leaving the atmosphere suggests that the γ-ray production
occurs above the cloud (Figure 1.1).


However, other similar events are not associated with lightning [Nemzek and Winckler, 1989],
suggesting that they may be caused by precipitation of electrons of ∼2 MeV energy
[LaBelle, 1988]. The source considered by LaBelle [1988] was the radiation-belt elec-
trons scattered by lightning-induced waves in the magnetosphere and was criticized
by Vampola [1988] on the basis of the fact that the energetic electron flux in the inner
belt was too low to cause the observed optical emissions. This critique does not apply
to the precipitating runaway electrons in the hemisphere conjugate to lightning since
they are supplied by an external source
.


There ya go.
“Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality"
Nikola Tesla
User avatar
solrey
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:54 pm

Next

Return to Electric Universe

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests