High-precision time study of gamma-ray bursts during thunderstorms

E. Kuriyama*, M. Masubuchi, N. Koshikawa, R. Iwashita, A. Omata, T. Kanda, J. Kataoka, M. Tsurumi, G. Diniz, T. Enoto, Y. Wada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Strong gamma-ray bursts initiated by lightning discharges and thunderclouds have been observed since the 1980s. However, the process of these emissions is under debate. Observed gamma-ray bursts are classified into two types according to their duration. One is a short-duration burst, called a terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF), and the other is a gamma-ray glow, which has a longer duration. The observation of a TGF is challenging because of its extremely brief duration (less than a second). As a result, the physics behind TGF is relatively poorly understood compared to classical long-duration bursts, the gamma-ray glows. To study short gamma-ray bursts, we developed a new detector system with time precision of 10 ns and focused on low-energy (E< 100 keV) measurement. We began our observations in November 2019 in a mountain area over 300 m above sea level and approximately 25 km from the Japan Sea. In this paper, we report the observations leading to the detection of the three types of interesting gamma-ray bursts, some of which were associated with lightning discharges. These results suggest the importance of measurements with high-time resolution and low-energy photons for understanding gamma-ray bursts related to thunderclouds. Moreover, we also report our first observation of gamma-ray imaging of a gamma-ray glow detected in the 2021–2022 season.

Keywords

  • Gamma-ray glows
  • Gamma-ray imaging
  • Lightning discharge
  • TGFs
  • Thunderstorm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

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