CONCERNING THE PROBLEM OF ANTI-MATTER IN THUNDERSTORMS…
This article was sent my Ms. K.M., and I found it so intriguing that I just had to talk about it, or rather, better put, think out loud about it and let everyone eavesdrop:
Now, you'll note the sensational title that "This is what it's like to fly a plane through a cloud of anti-matter" is perhaps a bit disingenious, for as the article itself makes clear, matter-antimatter reactions are total annihilation reactions, leaving nothing but (a lot of) energy in their wake. For example, if a positron and an electron collide, they mutually annihilate and release a lot of electromagnetic energy in the form of gamma rays. These two small particles have the same very small mass, but opposite charge(i.e., they spin in opposite directions). Thus, we can forget about there being a "whole cloud" of the stuff floating around for the airplane to fly through, for such a cloud would first of all have to have been kept in a kind of "bubble" and prevented from touching any matter (and hence being annihilated in the process, and causing quite possibly a lot of sunburn in the region, if not more serious consequences). For an airplane to fly through one, being made of matter as it is, probably little of it, or the cloud, would have remained.
But now that we have dispensed with the idea that there was a whole "antimatter cloud" floating around, it is clear that an anomalous amount of the stuff was encountered, which, as the article also avers, can be created in small amounts by cosmic ray collisions with matter, or by intense lightning, which (to complete the unstated analogy here) would be something like a high energy heavy ion particle accelerator or collider, which would again produce minute amounts of the stuff which. In both cases, whatever antimatter as might have been produced would probably not be around long enough to collect itself into a "cloud" simply because it would annihilate immediately on contact with matter, a high likelihood, since there's so much of the stuff floating around in a thunderstorm.
So where might it be coming from? ONe possibility - a highly remote one - is human sources, as particle colliders produce minute amounts of it all the time. But here too, this is highly unlikely since, as we've seen, antimatter annihilates when it comes into contact with matter. So we may be looking at a new phenomenon, or, perhaps, at aspects of anti-matter production by cosmic rays or lightning, that have never revealed themselves before. Whatever the case may be, this could be a significant story and one to watch.
See you on the flip side...
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