Archive for November 8th, 2009

Just to show again that Nature contains more wonders than the mind can imagine, Science News reports that the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has spotted the tell-tale signature of antimatter in terrestrial lightning:

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.


The Science News article may be behind a subscriber firewall, so visit Watt’s Up With That for more information and analysis.

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Via Strange Maps,  a rendering of the Lord of the Rings as a flowchart of the progress of the main characters. It’s too big to show here, so a sample will have to do:

Ring flowchart

Visit XKCD.com for the full diagram. They also have flow charts for Star Wars (original trilogy, of course) and Jurassic Park.

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