Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Vote for the top science result now!

Fermi Fridays - April

April's Topic: Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGF)

Gamma rays are created by some of the most powerful objects in the universe. So how is it normal thunderstorms on the Earth are seen to generate flashes of gamma rays? Find out more about the odd phenomenon called Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs).
To see a wide variety of sources both outside and inside our Galaxy, GBM has 14 detectors pointing in different directions. Together, these detectors view the entire part of the sky that is not covered by the Earth. Because of their orientation, some detectors are viewing the Earth as well, which is how GBM can see and study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes.
Scientists would like to know whether gamma-ray flashes from the Earth are related to lightning. To do that, they need to compare with measurements made of thunderstorms and lightning in other wavebands.
Fermi's friends in the Advanced 2D Animation class at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) have been inspired by Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) to produce some artistic views of these thunderstorm-related phenomena. Take a look at how they envision these powerful events.