If you get hit by a bolt of ordinary lightning, you know it. Dark lightning, on the other hand, is so hard to detect that researchers didn’t even realise it existed until 1991.
A normal part of thunderstorms, dark lightning is a burst of gamma rays, a form of high-energy radiation often associated with astrophysical phenomena. Scientists now think dark lightning and regular lightning are related, but the causes of dark lightning are still poorly understood; one theory is that it’s a form of electrical breakdown that involves high-energy electrons and their antimatter equivalent, positrons.
Watch this ScienceCasts video to find out more about dark lightning…
Source: Science@Nasa on YouTube