Temporal properties of the terrestrial gamma-ray flashes from the Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor on the Fermi Observatory



[1] The Gamma-Ray Burst Monitor (GBM) on the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope (Fermi) detected 50 terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) during its first 20 months of operation. The high efficiency and large area of the GBM detectors, combined with their fine timing capabilities and relatively high throughput, allow unprecedented studies of the temporal properties of TGFs. The TGF pulses are observed to have durations as brief as ∼0.05 ms, shorter than previously measured. There is a relatively narrow distribution of pulse durations; the majority of pulses have total durations between 0.10 and 0.40 ms. In some TGF events, risetimes as short as ∼0.01 ms and falltimes as short as ∼0.03 ms are observed. Three of the 50 TGFs presented here have well-separated, double peaks. Perhaps as many as 10 other TGFs show evidence, to varying degrees, of overlapping peaks. Weak emission is seen at the leading or trailing edges of some events. Five of the 50 TGFs are considerably longer than usual; these are believed to be caused by incident electrons transported from a TGF at the geomagnetic conjugate point. TGF temporal properties can be used to discriminate between models of the origin of TGFs and also provide some basic physical properties of the TGF process.