In 2015, Hurricane Patricia struck the west coast of Mexico and became the most severe hurricane ever seen in the region. Even more, the scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, noticed, for the first time ever, that, in the middle of the hurricane, there was a decreasing ray of positrons, the antimatter of the electrons, producing a gust of strong gamma rays and X-rays, as shown by Phys.org in an article published in May.
The NOAA hurricanes hunter plane which whizzed through the Hurricane Patricia’s eyewall recorded the powerful gamma rays and X-rays emissions and determined that their cause was a ray of positrons. However, the discovery didn’t baffle the scientists as they were already supposing that antimatter presence in strong hurricanes is possible but that was the first in history when they recorded such a phenomenon.
Hurricane Patricia’s eyewall presented a ray of antimatter (positrons) reversed to strong terrestrial gamma-rays flashes and X-rays emissions
As explained by David Smith from the UC Santa Cruz, the ray of positrons was the descendant part of an ascendant terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) that emitted a torrent of radiations out into space over the hurricane.
Detected for the first time in 1994 by spatial gamma-ray detectors, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes have been linked, theoretically, to a mirrored ray of antimatter, (positrons) but this model has never been observed physically, until recently, thanks to Hurricane Patricia.
“This event could have been detected from space like almost all the other TGFs reported, while an upward beam caused by an avalanche of electrons. We saw it from below due to a beam of antimatter (positrons) sent in the opposite direction,” said David Smith.
Powerful electric fields in severe storms, such as Hurricane Patricia, are able to speed up electrons at the speed of light and they will emit gamma rays as they disperse into the Earth’s atmosphere’s atoms. Then, the gamma rays engage with the atoms’ nuclei and this interaction forms one electron and one positron (antimatter of electrons) which presents opposite charge and is accelerated in the other direction.