Anybody who has a dog knows that dogs tend to be scared of thunderstorms. Turns out that’s because holy freaking crap they fire off all sorts of scary stuff. Man, now I’m afraid of thunderstorms!
True, we’ve known thunderstorms create gamma rays since 1991, when Atlantis launched a new observatory and discovered its gamma ray detector was picking up beams of gamma rays from Earthbound storms. But since then study on the phenomenon has shown that these things are way more powerful than we thought.
Essentially, we’ve learned the bursts produce electron beams and even anti-matter which can rocket across the Earth in seconds. That’s something that surprised everybody involved, to say the least.
It also means, as we get in the air more, that we’re being exposed to all sorts of weird stuff.
The big problem is that nobody can figure out precisely why this is happening. The best guess is that the intense electrical fields that generate lightning also generate big piles of electrons that somehow generate these gamma rays. But nobody’s really been able to test it out.
So, yeah, thunderstorms act like black holes in some ways. Sleep tight!
image courtesy bkkcut on Flickr