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Large Storms On Earth Are Particle Accelerators

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the you-bet-they-are dept.

Science 166

MondoMor writes "Apparently, the atmosphere above Earth's strongest storms acts like a particle accelerator, according to a UC Santa Cruz paper. TGFs (Terrestrial Gamma ray Flashes) may occur as seldom as 50 times a day, 'but the rate could be up to 100 times higher if, as some models indicate, TGFs are emitted as narrowly focused beams that would only be detected when the satellite is directly in their path.' I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space."

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166 comments

So that's what those are.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731275)

..I seem to recall watching a Discovery Channel programme about thunder-storms, and these unexplained 'lightning strikes' that are directed a some upper atmosphere.

Good to finally learn what those bloody things are. :)

Re:So that's what those are.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731346)

I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space."

Why? If they weren't, we'd long ago have evolved some method of dealing with it. Either that or we wouldn't be here to worry about it.

Matter of convenience (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731479)

I'm glad we don't live in the ocean. It's not that we'd drown... we'd have evolved flippers and a way to breathe or hold or breath for a long time.

Fire might be tricky, though.

Similarly, the gamma ray bursts would make having an electronic society very difficult.

Of course, we might find something even better from it... it might be a nice night time energy source, once we'd dealt with the shielding issue. Who knows? This is one of the things I like the way it is.

frost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731277)

post

Particles (1, Offtopic)

Musc (10581) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731281)

I am made out of subatomic particles.

Obligatory (-1)

nick8325 (825464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731297)

In Soviet Russia, the subatomic particles are made out of you!

Oh, wait. That doesn't make any sense at all. Bugger. Oh well, never mind. /me goes back to doing not much at all

Re:Obligatory (2, Funny)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731724)

In Soviet Russia, the subatomic particles are made out of you!

Five points from Slytherin, for making a pointless joke about Muggles.

We already knew TGIFs were dangerous (5, Funny)

zurtle (785688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731285)

Gamma rays? Pfffft!

Last time I was in a TGIF restaurant, I was exposed to all sorts of dangerous things...
Waiters
Loud Americans with cigars
and of course copious amounts of spilled beer.

Re:We already knew TGIFs were dangerous (0, Flamebait)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731396)

Ah yes, one of those Thank God It's France restaurants. I've been to one of those ... mostly it was Americans being loud because all the French waiters refused to take their orders.

The ionosphere: famous for its rude French waiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731899)

mostly it was Americans being loud because all the French waiters refused to take their orders.
Sigh... yet another American here to embarrass us in front of all the geek foreigners by showing off his persecution complex. (They do it at home too, foreigners- only here they have to pretend they're being persecuted for being Christians, not for being Americans, since we're all Americans here.)
You obviously haven't been to France, Mister Flamebait. They will take your order quite readily. But in France you're expected to stay at the table after you're finished and yak it up for hours. So you can't get them to give you a check. They're always surprised when you ask for it. Why wouldn't you want to stay here, and enjoy the conversation and secondhand smoke? You just got here two hours ago.

Re:We already knew TGIFs were dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731457)

Wow, two posts in and you manage to turn "Large storms on Earth act as particle accelerators" to "Americans are loud and obnoxious!".

Kudos, sir. You have elevated geopolitical trolling to an artform!

Re:We already knew TGIFs were dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731604)

No, sir, you are the one who invoked the stereotype when converting "loud Americans" to "Americans are loud".

Kudos, sir. You have elevated anti troll trolling to an artform!

Re:We already knew TGIFs were dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11732040)

My anti likes to troll. Usually in the AARP and Social Security chatrooms. She had one really pissed-off old geezer threaten to gum her to death.

Magnetic Field? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731287)

Can someone describe the physics that describe the creation of magnetic fields powerful enough to cause particle acceleration to some interesting end? Something just isn't adding up here. My guesstimates put the magnetic fields created by rotating charged particles at several orders of magnitute below any thing that can smash a baryon.

Re:Magnetic Field? (4, Funny)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731478)

Describe the physics that describe the creation of those magnetic fields?

Yes: Bloody difficult.

Re:Magnetic Field? (3, Informative)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731630)

You don't need a magnetic field to have a particle accelerator. An electric field is sufficient. Particle accelerators simply accelerate charged particles. You are looking at one (if you have a CRT).

Noone can... (1)

J_Omega (709711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731896)

AFAIK, no. The sprites/elfs/jets are usually studied by Elec Engs, and these things are poorly understood. At least, that's how it was ~6 years ago when I was doing minimal assistance for a Prof who was studying those phenomena.

Re:Magnetic Field? (1)

aurum42 (712010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732693)

"Smash a baryon"? Why is that essential? I thought this was synchrotron radiation from accelerated electrons..

Free particle accelerator for use! (4, Interesting)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731290)

""The idea that the Earth, a fairly small and tame planet, can be an accelerator of particles to ultrarelativistic energies is fascinating to me," said David Smith, an assistant professor of physics at UC Santa Cruz and first author of the paper.

"The energies we see are as high as those of gamma rays emitted from black holes and neutron stars," Smith said.

The exact mechanism that accelerates the electron beams to produce TGFs is still uncertain, he said, but it probably involves the build-up of electric charge at the tops of thunder clouds due to lightning discharges, resulting in a powerful electric field between the cloudtops and the ionosphere, the outer layer of Earth's atmosphere.

"Regardless of the exact mechanism, there is some enormous particle accelerator in the upper atmosphere that is accelerating electrons to these very high energies, so they emit gamma rays when they hit the sparse atoms of the upper atmosphere," Smith said. "What's exciting is that we are now getting data good enough for the theorists to really test their models."

Cool, huh? It's like having a free, giant, massively powerful particle accelerator for use by scientists, but without having to build a massive building and dealing with constructions costs, red tape, and NIMBY issues.

"Jenkins! I want to test some data. Run it up the flagpole* and tell me the results."

* For sufficiently large flagpole, that is. Hey, combine this with the space elevator and you really got something!)

Re:Free particle accelerator for use! (2, Funny)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731350)

but without having to build a massive building and dealing with constructions costs, red tape, and NIMBY issues.

I don't want these gamma ray flashes in my backyard.

Free Indeed (1)

Bad D.N.A. (753582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731731)

All we need to do is construct detection systems capable of tracking and positioning themselvs over/around each particle accelerator and then telemeter the results back to some type of simple network. Then have some simple system that can reduce the observations from these many systems, forward that information to the interested scientists. Sounds free to me.

Re:Free Indeed (1)

chadjg (615827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733459)

Ok, somebody is probably going to take me to school for this one, but is there a way to set this thing off on cue in one big burst? That should cut down on the observation costs.

What would happen if you could convince some moron to drive a boat into the eye of one of these storms and then set off a laser in the 193 nanometer range and aim it straight up. If you pumped a big old burst of energy into the laser it should make a nice ionized and therefore conductive path up into the stratosphere. Would that set up a decent experiment?

I can't quite figure out how this phenomenon is usefl, but that's just me.

Re:Free particle accelerator for use! (3, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732801)

The energy of the particles involved here are not particularly impressive....from a particle physics research point of view anyway. They are VERY impressive in that no natural mechanism before now has been known (on earth) to produce particle energies this high though. They are speculating that the accelerated electrons involved here are in the ~30 MeV range which is a commonly available energy range easily attained by even small medical e- accelerators (the therac 20 accidents happened with a beam of 20MeV electrons for instance) and the range is not that far above common natural beta decay energies(perhaps an order of magnitude). If you want to get to scientifically interesting energy levels these days (for particle physics research) you have to be at least in the high GeV range and for cutting edge research (the large hadron collider etc.) you need to be in the TeV range (trillion electron volts. When they say "good enough for the theorists to really test their models" they're not talking about the standard model of particle physics, they're talking about the models of particle acceleration in thunderstorms, I suspect.

The "Oh-My-God" Particle (3, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733778)

30 MeV is impressive for a terrestrial thunderstorm, but much faster and more energetic particles and photons arrive from space. One proton (dubbed the "Oh-My-God" particle by the goofy physicists who observed it) was seen striking the upper atmosphere above Utah with a calculated energy of 320000000 TeV or 51 Joules [fourmilab.ch], the energy of a 55 mph baseball.

Sprites ? (2, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731294)

I'm curious... could these be related to 'Sprites' in any way?
http://www.ess.washington.edu/Space/AtmosElec/spri teinfo.html [washington.edu]

The article says: maybe (1)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731348)

I have a feeling the answer is yes, but here is what the article says:
TGFs have been correlated with lightning strikes and may be related to visible phenomena that occur in the upper atmosphere over thunderstorms, such as red sprites and blue jets. Just how these various phenomena are related is a question the RHESSI investigators plan to pursue in collaboration with other researchers around the world, Smith said.

Re:Sprites ? (2, Interesting)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731853)

I'd be willing to bet that they are related to Sprites - guessing the potential between the top of the thunderclouds and E-layer of the ionosphere could be tens of millions of volts. The mean free path of the particles may be long enough that they can pick up some significant energy.

On a related note, in the early 1980's, QST was reporting a very strong correlation between thunderstorm activity and sporadic E-layer propagation. Those reports came to mind when first reading about sprites over ten years later.

BATSE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731295)

Is BATSE the new competitor to GOATSE?

Quick, somebody go tell tubgirl!

Not a new idea. (5, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731296)

This dates back to 'The Wizard of Oz' when Dorothy and Toto were accelerated over the rainbow by a large storm.

Re:Not a new idea. (4, Funny)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731376)

This dates back to 'The Wizard of Oz' when Dorothy and Toto were accelerated over the rainbow by a large storm.

Hmm... Mesons, Bosons... I'm missing Totons and Dorons...

Re:Not a new idea. (1)

Spock the Baptist (455355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731499)

I was thinking along the lines of...

Mesons, Bosons, and Hadrons, Oh! My!

Re:Not a new idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11732086)

Glinda the Good always gave me a hadron. I wouldn't mind accelerating her particles.

Re:Not a new idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11732242)

Oh Man,
Hadron?

There ain't that many people going to get that one.

Re:Not a new idea. (2, Funny)

Dabido (802599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732875)

Whouldn't it be closer to:

Nuc-lions, Tigons and Bearyons! Oh,my!

(Okay, a bit of massaging of Nucleons and Baryons to make a better fit!) :-)

Important! (2, Interesting)

bprime (734645) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731308)

The scientists forgot to mention what the lethal range of these particles is! How are they going to secure funding for next year?

"If the atmosphere was 200 meters closer to the ground, these particles would trigger a mass extinction."

Re:Important! (4, Funny)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731365)

Yeah, it sure is a good thing that the atmosphere dosen't go all the way to the ground, we would all perish... Oh, wait.

Images of these gamma bursts (5, Informative)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731331)

These gamma ray bursts are also known as red sprites, blue jets, and super lightning.
http://images.google.com/images?q=red%20sprites [google.com]

Re:Images of these gamma bursts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731670)

Here [gamelovers.ca] is a page with lots of good examples.

Re:Images of these gamma bursts (3, Informative)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732841)

Note that while higly plausable, this connection has not been established at the current time. If I were to speculate on such things though, I would say that it is a very VERY good bet. :o)

not extremely energetic (1)

pyth (87680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731357)

They say they're getting 35 MeV electrons. This isn't enough to help out in modern high-energy particle experiments, but still could be useful. Maybe.

A fingerprint? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731370)

It would be interesting to see if these bursts act as a fingerprint of the planet that produces them. Perhaps they could be used to identify other planets with Earth-like atmospheres (or just planets in general...)?

Re:A fingerprint? (1)

Spock the Baptist (455355) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731512)

You sir, have posed an interesting question.

Re:A fingerprint? (2, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731622)

It's too bad empirical evidence points to his insightful, interesting, underrated, informative, and potentially funny comment being modded down despite fitting every positive moderator point the site offers. ;)

I am Glad! (0, Redundant)

sammykrupa (828537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731382)

I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space

I, for one, am too!

Re:I am Glad! (2, Funny)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731527)

At this point I get the evil thought of "if only they could be aimed at a terrestrial target..."

hmmmmm....

Ground a tesla coil to my old boss' office chair
OR
Fry him with radioactive lightning....

Option 2 just sounds like more fun.

Shame it can't be done... =]

Good old Egon' (3, Funny)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731383)

that frood always talked about partical accelerators... just don't f'in cross the streams!

Re:Good old Egon' (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731579)

You know what you'd really get if you crossed the streams? Nothing, because it can't be done. They're both of the same charge, and like charges repell. Good movie, lousy physics.

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731387)

Minut#es. At home, Megs o7 ram runs

Silly comment (1, Redundant)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731423)

I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space.

Ummm... We've had thunderstorms for billions of years, and presumably these gamma ray bursts as well. They are completely natural phenomena. If they could negatively affect us, we would have either evolved a method for coping millions of years ago, or we wouldn't even exist today.

OF COURSE the things are directed into space. Duh.

Re:Silly comment (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731526)

They are completely natural phenomena.

Unless they're really an old planetary defence system left over from a previous civilization. (Not quite the Ringworld defence, but who knows what it was designed to stop.)

Re:Silly comment (1)

io333 (574963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731529)

It's too bad they are NOT directed towards us. Every living thing, including us, WOULD have evolved a natural defense -- which would have meant that our current crop of fusion weapons would have been far less dangerous to all life on this planet.

Re:Silly comment (2, Insightful)

Alchemar (720449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731546)

Ummm ... We've had thundersorms for billions of years, and presumably these lightning strikes as well. They are completely natural phenomena. If they could negatively affect us, we would have either evolved a method for coping millions of years ago, or we wouldn't even exit today.

Sorry about being a bit to sarcastic, but I couldn't resist.

Natural selection works more on what is slightly harmful to an entire species, not what is extremely harmful to a few random individuals. Even if the gamma rays did point strait down, we would be wondering why there was an occasional case of natural combustion, not the extiction of the human race.

Mod parent up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731999)

It's a good thing the GP labled his post "Silly comment", because it sure was.

Weak Anthropic Principle (1)

quinkin (601839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731710)

The definition of a meaningless statement...

* Weak anthropic principle (WAP): "The observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirements that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_Principle

Q.

Re:Silly comment (1)

hector66 (559111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733486)

I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space.

Not so silly really. I'm sure the lawyers working for Richard Branson at Virgin Galactic spacelines are already creating waivers to sign so the passengers can not sue if they should return to the Earth as the Incredible Hulk.

me too (3, Funny)

ezthrust (564219) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731426)

"I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space."

No way, if they shot down to earth, then we could ALL be the Hulk.

Re:me too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731524)

Well if we were all the Hulk that really wouldn't be too cool either.

Re:me too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731662)

You *are* the hulk. Without these gamma rays, you would be one tenth your current size and strength.

Space elevators? (4, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731428)

Just wondering if this would disrupt the operation of a space elevator in any way or harm it. I mean, there's no way you can infinitely keep a storm away from one of those things.

How would this affect carbon nanotubes?

Re:Space elevators? (3, Funny)

all your mwbassguy a (720029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731464)

thats why we need a space escalator.

Re:Space elevators? (1)

Dabido (802599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732989)

"thats why we need a space escalator."

Doesn't Springfield have one of those ... it's next to that pop-stick tower and has a monorail station.

Re:Space elevators? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732899)

Well, given that the tether is going to experience far worse things which have already been anticipated near the ground (wind, electrical strikes) and out in space (hits by orbiting material, hard gamma ray bursts), I don't think this will be a problem.

Day after tomorrow? (1)

timigoe (797580) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731449)

Sounds scary really... lets hope no-one predicts a 'day after tomorrow' type event next :o

Re:Day after tomorrow? (1)

Lyntux (840729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731895)

This sounds like a disaster of the week movie idea just waiting to produced...poorly.

We must stop global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731461)

Because it will affect the North Atlantic current causing storms to turn upside down for some reason, showering the planet with gamma ray bursts, and making people act badly.

Make it stop. (1)

skids (119237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731496)


When is it going to stop? How many more flash floods do you guys need in Utah before you wake up?

Noooooooooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11733530)

Then Jerry Bruckheimer will make a movie where the Space Shuttle will have to fly through a wall of tornados. On the other hand, it'd snow on the Moon, so there'd finally be a commercial incentive to put permanent habitation there, with really, really hot hot cocoa. Hopefully all our butts will be as sexy as Flander's in our skin-tight spaceski suits.

If you think storms on Earth are bad... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11731472)

...just imagine the stuff coming out of Uranus.

And to the ground (4, Interesting)

Viadd (173388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731477)

I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space.

Although the outward going flashes (first detected by CGRO a decade ago [nasa.gov]) are much stronger, there are also lighting-generated X-rays seen on the ground. [sciam.com]

Re:And to the ground (4, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731580)

The scientists who measured those X-rays were triggering lightning blots by firing rockets with trailing wires into thunderclouds (insurance agent: "And what do you do for a living?"), so their detectors were near the actual lightning strike.

The detectors had to be near the lightning bolt because air absorbs X-rays surprisingly well. Ditto gamma rays, which are the same thing but at higher energies. More than a few feet of air will block X-rays.

Some of the early nuclear bomb tests had to measure gamma rays from the reaction, and to do that they built tunnels filled with polyethylene between ground zero and their detectors for the gamma rays to go through.

Bottom line, don't worry about X-rays from lightning unless you're standing where it strikes, in which case you shouldn't worry about the X-rays anyhow.

Re:And to the ground (2, Informative)

Muhammar (659468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733203)

there is not much gamma released in nuke explosion (except for the fission product decay), most of the initial radiation pulse is actualy X-ray and neutrons.

Evoloution? (1)

ElDuderino44137 (660751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731500)

So ...

Could one of theses large storms be responsible for the mutation that caused humans to go from poop flingers to problem solvers? ... The Dude

Was this research conducted by a General Ross? (-1, Offtopic)

Attackman (95672) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731505)

With Drs. Banner and Samson performing the tests, I'd assume. Assisted by a Mr. Jones, when he's not being annoying.
Watch what you say about that Banner guy, though. You wouldn't want to make him angry. No, you wouldn't like him when he's angry ;)

Re:Was this research conducted by a General Ross? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731716)

I think it would be a bit safer to have the experiments performed by Dr. Clark Savage Jr.

Re:Was this research conducted by a General Ross? (1)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732154)

Yes, the acupuncture brain surgery seemed to work well. It made bad guys join the Salvation Army and play an accordion.

So it just may be then (4, Funny)

toddhunter (659837) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731542)

The the Earth is not only a giant computer, but a particle accelarator as well? Pretty versatile planet really.

Re:So it just may be then (1)

Dabido (802599) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733011)

" The the Earth is not only a giant computer, but a particle accelarator as well? Pretty versatile planet really."

The mice are furious that you have worked this out. And the Dolphins send you a message. "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

What about aliens, though? (3, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731545)

I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space.

As am I, but I fear that these bursts of gamma rays are the real reason nobody's made first contact with us yet. It's kind of like when you go around town looking for a restaurant, you generally avoid the restaurants that bullets fly out of when you're pulling into the parking lot, opting instead for a restaurant where you can get at least to the hostess or maybe even your table before anyone shoots at you.

It's the same thing at work, here. Aliens do not want to share their warp drive technology with a planet that blasts them with gamma rays every time they fly by.

Fools! (2, Funny)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731739)

These are not "naturally ocurring phenomena," as these simpletons posing as scientists seem to believe. Yes there is something in the tops of these thunderheads interacting with the ionosphere, and when I have it perfected everyone who laughed at my theroies will see what terrestrial gamma emissions are REALLY about!

.

.

Especially the accursed Reed Richards.

Hmmm... (2, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11731854)

I wonder if blasts of gamma rays can be to blame for Cancer Clusters that have defied other explanations.

LK

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11732530)

cancer, gamma rays, thunderstorms, power lines, atmosphere.... The atmosphere blocks gammas, so they could actually be emitted in a bunch of directions and only be significantly noticed above the atmosphere. But the atmosphere is not a perfect block, so some might get through. Now, if there is any correlation between actual thunderstorms and CLAIMS of cancer being caused by power lines....

Re:Hmmm... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11732933)

No. I don't see the connection since the atmosphere absorbs gamma rays. Maybe I need more happy juice?

Impressive energies but FAR lower than the highest (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11732834)

It sounds like an interesting phenomenon 35 MeV is higher gamma ray energies than I would have guessed. Maybe understanding the production mechanism can produce some insight about how some of the gamma rays from space are produced.

However, the energies for these are FAR FAR lower than the higher gammas from space. The highest cosmic rays are thought to be 20 TeV - 10^6 times higher energy than these. The highest man made particle beams are only 1 TeV (from the Tevatron at Fermilab www.fnal.gov).

Nobody has an explaination for how the highest energy cosmic rays are produced...

It's "human" assisted.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11733331)

With the huge amounts of RF being pumped into the atmosphere from human activity, it's no wonder that there is a seemingly "natural" particle accelerator up there.

But it's surely a human caused RF assisted event.

Gamma rays and evolution (2, Interesting)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11733643)

"I'm glad the gamma-ray bursts are directed into space."

I'm not. If they were directed downward, creatures on earth would have evolved some defenses against irradiation and made space travel (and a lot of other things) a hell of a lot easier.
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  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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