In 2015, a US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aircraft flew through Hurricane Patricia, the strongest on record. Onboard there was a detector for measuring X-rays and gamma-flares, which, in addition to them, recorded something new. Scientists have called this "reverse positron beam, " and it is composed of antimatter generated by a hurricane.
Since 1994, space gamma-ray detectors placed in orbit have often recorded gamma-ray flares below, on our planet. Comparing the data with the weather conditions, they established their source - large tropical cyclones. Under the phenomenon, the theory was summed up, according to which the strong electric fields caused by lightning accelerate electrons to near-light speed, and they begin to bombard the surrounding substance. This forces the atoms to separate and generates many relativistic electrons, so the process is rapidly gaining momentum.
The bursts of energy generate the most powerful gamma radiation, which detectors record in the form of local flashes. However, this phenomenon also has a side effect: when the nucleus of an atom is split, an electron and its twin antiparticle, a positron, are created. And just a clear beam of such positrons was recorded by the instruments on board the aircraft flying through the Patricia. It was pointed exactly in the opposite direction from the gamma-ray burst - down to the surface of the planet.
The theory has received practical confirmation, a new direction for research has opened up for scientists. During the time that has passed since the epoch-making flight, it has been possible to establish that any strong thunderstorm can generate antimatter, and the region of the beam origin can be located at an altitude of only 2-3 km. Since it is directed towards the surface of the earth, it is quite possible to catch it at an altitude of 1.5 km, by installing the equipment on a suitable hill. It's easier and safer than flying through hurricanes, and therefore the hunt for antimatter could soon begin around the world.
WP-3D Orion flying through Hurricane Patricia