First-Ever Image of a Terrestrial Gamma-Ray Burst Shows Light Exploding Out of a Thundercloud in Asia

Live Science | 5/17/2019 | Staff
pixielilia (Posted by) Level 4
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Sometimes, however, gamma-ray bursts pop up where scientists don't expect to see them — like in Earth's atmosphere, for example. These so-called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes are produced by near-light-speed electron interactions inside giant thunderclouds, but scientists aren't exactly sure how they happen. Lasting only about 1 millisecond long, the mysterious bursts of energy are difficult to pinpoint and study in detail.

Now, after one year of observing Earth from space, researchers have created the first-ever image of a terrestrial gamma-ray flash, which erupted out of a thunderstorm over the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, on June 18, 2018. As seen above, the colorful cigarette burn of red-white light on the far right of the image shows the burst's most energetic region.

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