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Gamma Rays From Thunderclouds

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the deploy-the-tinfoil-helmets dept.

Power 104

KentuckyFC sends us a report of gamma rays detected at a Japanese nuclear plant, whose origin was thunderclouds high overhead (abstract, article PDF). The theory is that showers of electrons caused by cosmic rays, when they encounter the high electric fields present in thunderstorm clouds, can be accelerated to energies above 10 MeV and result in bremsstrahlung photons detectable on the ground.

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104 comments

Nature's own linear accelerator! (4, Funny)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20363561)

Just fling electrons at the blue planet where the electricity is, and see if you can hit the little dust-specks. Like billiards! Anyway, it's fun to know that each time there's a thunderstorm, and a random electron flies in from somewhere in the universe, you're getting bombarded with braking radiation. Although, considering that I'm doing experiments with X-rays in my garage, I probably shouldn't worry about that. :) also, first post (if my calculations are correct).

Jews... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367057)

...go to temple, whereas Christians go to church.

Re:Nature's own linear accelerator! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367185)

It's four thirty a.m. and the house is asleep.

I. . . am not asleep.

I am crouched in the bathtub in a frog-like stance, small puddles of urine and liquid shit at my feet. I'm leaning forward, gripping the side of the tub and biting my knee, overwhelmed by a mixture of pain and pleasure as I piston a dildo in and out of my ass.

You see, I really love anal masturbation.

Ever try it? No? You should.

Doesn't matter who you are. God gave all of us, male and female, an abundance of nerve endings in our rectum - and one life to live. So why don't you go ahead and test out the equipment? Have some fun. No point in having a gun sitting on your shelf your entire life and never killing anyone, right?

But I realize there's a fairly persistent misconception among guys that I'm gonna have to dispel before we go any further:

Stimulating your own ass is not "gay."

That notion doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, how could anything you do to your own body be gay? Nobody ever freaks out in the middle of jerking off like "Holy fuck, I've got a fistful of cock! I've gotta cut this gay shit out!" Well, what's the philosophical difference between playing with your dick and playing with your ass?

There is none.

Look fellas, here's the scoop:

If you have a girl wearing a foot long strap-on, smacking your face and screaming "WHO'S MY BITCH?!?" while she pounds your asshole until it bleeds, that would be a *heterosexual* act. Girl on guy. Simple.

Now if it's a guy that's fucking you, that would be homosexual. And if you're doing it to yourself, well, that's plain old masturbation.

But listen - if you're still sitting there being stubborn, all macho and uptight going "My ass. . . is EXIT ONLY!!!" then lemme just ask you a question.

You know that feeling you get when you take a really big shit?

You know what I'm talking about. You're sitting on the couch, eating Cheez-Its and watching Larry King, when all of the sudden you feel that familiar burning. . . so you get up and bound off to the bathroom all bow legged, clenching your sphincter real tight, and then you furiously rip off your boxer briefs and plop down on the seat just in time to let a huuuuuuge thick turd come sliding out of your ass?

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!

That feeling.

That tingling, chills up your spine, this-is-absolutely-the-pinnacle-of-human-existence feeling.

Well guess what. That's the feeling of a massive rod moving through your rectum, tickling those wonderfully abundant nerve endings. You love it. It's okay. We all do. It doesn't make you a fag. Or at the very least, we're ALL fags. So indulge yourself.

(Yes, I understand that said feeling is partially due to the sensory experience of toxins leaving the body, which is unique to defecation - but the operative word here is "partially." You like the log movement, too. Don't try to argue.)

So anyway, now that you've decided to be bold, and not a homophobic pussy, and poke around the cornhole a little bit - good for you. But there's something you should remember. Anal masturbation is just like playing the accordion, or shooting a jumper, or really anything else that's worth doing. That is, it requires practice.

You see, back when I was a kid I would get curious and stick a finger or a toothbrush up there, but I wasn't fucking around with anywhere near the kind of pleasure I'm achieving now. It was uncomfortable even. So I worked on it.

And conversely, I know I'm still far from expertise in this particular discipline. I don't claim to be an ass master. There's a whole world of lengths, girths, textures, and vibrations that my eager browneye has yet to inhale.

But since I have honed my skills to a pretty decent level, I'll share with you my current technique. Without further ado:

SpunkyBrewster's Anal Masturbation Technique

What You Need:

1. Lubricant of your choice
2. Fake cock (eight inches, approx.)
3. Ridged anal wand (seven inches, approx.)

Procedure:

1. Apply a generous amount of lube to your index finger, and swirl the lubricated finger lightly around your butthole. Add another drop or two of lube, and then simultaneously push your finger into your butthole while pushing back with your anus muscles.

2. Slide your finger into your ass up to the knuckle and feel around for turds. Unless you're an anorexic, you probably will come across one.

3. Circle your finger around your anal walls pressing outward, as if you were an umpire signaling a home run. You should be near the toilet, because this is intended to stimulate a bowel movement. Once you've shit, and your rectum is empty, then you're ready for some heavy duty fun.

4. Lube up a second finger and slip them both into your poopchute. Let your asshole get comfortable with the new mass, and then begin to pump a little. Repeat with a third finger if you so desire.

5. Slather lube all over the ridged anal wand. Squat over your tool and press the tip to your now greasy anus. Just as you've done with your fingers, ease the dildo into your cornhole as you push back onto it with your ass muscles. Go slowly, stopping at each ridge and letting your ass adjust to the increase in width, until you have it in as far as it will go.

6. Now it's time to start pounding. I'm not gonna get more specific than that. Do it your own way. Experiment with different positions and rhythms until you find what you like.

7. Once your ass has been thoroughly fucked by the anal wand, it's time to move up to the larger dildo. Again, you're going to repeat the process that you've done twice already, with your fingers and the wand. Entering slowly, pushing back on it, letting yourself adjust, and then starting to pump.

8. At this point your asshole is really loose, gaping even, and it's time to move on to my favorite part. Crouch down, or get into whatever position you feel comfortable with, and hold the fake cock in one hand and the wand in the other. Work the fake cock in and out, building the pace until you are doing a high intensity rectal plundering. Slide it in really deep, pause, then pull it out all the way - quickly jamming in the anal wand to fill its place. The rapid transition from smooth to ridged textures will send waves out of pleasure rippling through your entire body. Then give yourself a nice hard fuck with the anal wand, and repeat as many times as you'd like.

*In carrying out these steps - even if you take the dump at the beginning - you still might at some point fuck the shit out of yourself. This is why I recommend doing it in a bathtub, or on some other surface that is easy to clean. Now at first you might be squeamish about the poo, but I think that as you get hardcore into the pleasure of all this, you'll just naturally get desensitized. Kind of like a heroin addict quickly gets over his fear of needles.

In fact, I've found that the right kind of poo can easily be incorporated into the festivities. Sometimes while I'm pounding away I will feel a sudden rush of heat travel through my ass, and I'll know that I'm coating the dildo with a somewhat viscous liquid shit. At this point in the ass ramming, my pain tolerance is rather high, so I'll simply jam the shitty dildo back up my ass, and let the sudden decrease in lubrication create an effect similar to the aforementioned smooth-to-ridged transition. As a matter of fact, this is probably the most intense sensation that I've come across in my entire anal masturbatory experience.*

So that's how it's done. Quite the activity, I must say. Maybe next time you're feeling bored and restless, you can give it a shot. Unless you're a fucking prude, in which case I'd recommend suicide. Or do a goddamn crossword puzzle, I don't really care.

One more thing I want to say on the subject: I really think anal penetration should be an Olympic sport. Wouldn't that be neat? I mean for Christ sakes, we've all seen how much those little Japanese bastards can eat - can you imagine how much they could stuff up the other end? It could even be a team sport where one of them has to take their partner's entire head up their ass.

Well. . . I don't really know how much support I'm gonna get for my petition to add competitive rectal insertion to the Olympic Games, we'll have to see - but seriously, speed walking? FUCKING CURLING?!? It would be far from the dumbest event on the schedule.

Source: [kuro5hin.org] http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2007/7/23/204244/127 [kuro5hin.org]

Re:Nature's own linear accelerator! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20368149)

This is waaaaaay too much work?! I think I'll pass. Besides, your anus is going to be looser than usual from now on. With repeated anal intrusion activity of this magnitude; you're going to have to insert a suppository to prevent leakage. Hell, after awhile you might even shit yourself after a hard cough or a good laugh. This to me would be devastating! Forget it. If evolution intended for the anus to be designed like a vagina it would have made it more accommodating for intercourse. Besides, with the vigorous regimen your currently doing; you could give yourself an anal fissure leading to bleeding, pain, problems defecating, and incontinence. Please stop! That supposed "amazing" feeling your having now could lead you in the future to feel like your passing sharp glass. Just ease up cowboy! If you not making movies then stop. You could be in for an embarrassing trip to the doctors unless of course you don't mind explaining this posting to your physician. I can guarantee on his lunch break that your case will be the next hospital gossip and you'll be labeled as "one" of those guys to join the ranks of Mr. Light Bulb, Sir Gerbil Jamming, or the Cement Crack Filler. Knock it off. Your plea for attention is annoying. God Bless your weird ass!

Re:Nature's own linear accelerator! (1)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20378643)

This may explain why people with solar panels experience small peaks when cloud edges first hit their panels.

I forget what the term for it is in the Solar community (cloud edge, or something).

I suspect that the biggest consequence of this (2, Funny)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20363579)

Is that five or six months down the line, the Incredible Hulk will start controlling electricity.

Re:I suspect that the biggest consequence of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365157)

Japanese Hulk - smashu! Spit in Godzirra's eye! Ptooey! Nuclear power - good! Hulk loogie - bad! Beware! I kick Transformer's sad American ass!

Re:I suspect that the biggest consequence of this (5, Funny)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367963)

It's getting cloudy. You wouldn't like me when it's cloudy.

Or Lightning Fusing Hydrogen? (4, Informative)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 6 years ago | (#20363651)

Or possibly the fusion of deuterium/hydrogen in rain water by lightning?

I actually posted an article about this back in 2005. Lightning Fusion And Other Hot News [slashdot.org]

Re:Or Lightning Fusing Hydrogen? (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20363677)

So would that mean that the Z-Machine at Sandia National Labs imitates nature, or the other way around?

Re:Or Lightning Fusing Hydrogen? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20364491)

Actually, fusion should produce fast neutrons, not gamma rays.

Not so simple (4, Informative)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366009)

And neutrons will crash into other nuclei and there will be secondary fissions and fusions. Neither fission nor fusion is an entirely straight forward reaction with only one set of byproducts. Muon catalyzed fusion produces gamma rays directly.

Our own star the Sun produces gamma rays from the PP-I fusion chain 4 1H 1 4He + 2 positrons + 2 neutrinos + 2 gamma rays The by-products provide the source of luminosity: * Positrons: anti-electrons (e+) - collide with electrons (e-) * Neutrinos: rapidly escape from the star * Gamma rays (photons): travel outwards through star interacting many times with atomic gas. Energy is also provided by the PP-II and PP-III chains

Re:Not so simple (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367995)

mhmm. except that the mechanism provided by this study is vastly more plausable and the older paper claiming neutrons from fusion in lightning were never published in a reputable journal, let alone replicated by any one else.

Re:Not so simple (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368311)

Fusion in storm clouds would produce fast neutrons, which have a very low probability of colliding with anything. Their mean free path in normal atmosphere is huge. You wouldn't expect to be able to localize them (or their products) to a single thundercloud/storm, given the small numbers produced.

Re:Or Lightning Fusing Hydrogen? (1)

Fyz (581804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367031)

Very funny. Get back to work!!!

Re:Or Lightning Fusing Hydrogen? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368567)

Then gamma ray production should be in sync with lightning strikes. The article you cited way back when would seem to support this interpretation.

Re:Or Lightning Fusing Hydrogen? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20371437)

It is a good thing I added a lead foil hat to my tin foil one.

Where's An Evil Overlord When You Need One? (2, Funny)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20363791)

This is going to make the best James Bond movie ever.

If there are gamma rays from clouds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20364603)

Have they been detected in satellite gamma-ray detectors? Would this have caused a problem for any researchers?

Just my two tenths of a cent, it's a lazy Sunday.

Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (2, Interesting)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20364917)

I would be interested to find how often these sort of effects are observed. Getting energy levels up to 10 million electron volts is unusual in nature, with the exception of some cosmic rays. That level is higher than the binding energy of most elements. Thus, in theory, a gamma photon of such a high energy level could dislodge a neutron or possibly a proton from a nucleus. I would tend to think this sort of natural transmutation would be exceedingly rare, but it's still interesting, because it could impact on the distribution of elements and isotopes on earth.

Of course, a single photon isn't going to do much noticable, but if this is common enough and the gamma flux is high, it could be appreciable.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (0, Flamebait)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366933)

Thus, in theory, a gamma photon of such a high energy level could dislodge a neutron or possibly a proton from a nucleus. I would tend to think this sort of natural transmutation would be exceedingly rare, but it's still interesting, because it could impact on the distribution of elements and isotopes on earth.

Welcome to the Electric Universe Theory, btw. Now, just imagine that lightning can extend between space and through the ground to the Earth's core. And imagine that bodies in space can possess and trade electrical charge with the space they travel through, and even, on rare occasions, with each other. This would explain what the magnetosphere is. No mysterious "dynamo" is necessary. The magnetosphere is just a plasma sheath. When two planets approach one another for whatever reason, the size of these lightning bolts can be on the scale of New York City, and this explains why we see some rilles all throughout the solar system that move both up and down with the terrain, in apparent violation of gravity. This would explain why the Colorado River travels right through the Kaibab Upwarp, and why there is no apparent "outflow" or delta associated with the Grand Canyon (the material was excavated into space). We can actually see this process occurring *right now* on Io and the excavated material forms a unique plume shape that precisely mimics the morphology generated by an electrical plasma gun. NASA is about to discover something somewhat similar happening on Enceladus, but the plume has been replaced with something much more similar to a cometary tail. This would also explain the enigmatic Tycho and Aristarchus craters on the Moon, whose apparent debris fields are not debris fields at all, but rather burn scars or excavated material.

If all of this is true, then we should expect to see some validation of these concepts within crater studies. And in fact, this is exactly what we see in many instances. For instance, many craters have terraced edges, which is a rather clear indication that we're seeing twisting Birkeland Currents dig into the ground deeper as they rotate. We also see many craters that have thin spires in their centers, which can also suggest a rotating force that did not rotate enough to excavate the material at the very center. We see these same morphologies on comets and asteroids too. Comets are really just asteroids on elliptical orbits actually. When two plasma spheres come into contact, they will tend to equalize in charge distribution if they have significantly different charges. This can explain why some "impacts" like the Tunguska event leave no trace of an impacting body, and why there were two flashes in the Deep Impact Mission at the time of contact.

Things start to get extremely interesting though once you start to apply EU Theory to tornadoes. Tornadoes are almost certainly charged sheath vortexes. They are electrical plasma phenomenon, and eyewitnesses who have been lucky enough to survive tornadoes explain that the insides of the vortex can flicker with a weak luminosity. One person has even successfully created a micro-tornado within a petri dish using nothing but salt and a voltage difference through it. Tornadoes serve a purpose similar to lightning in that they equalize charge imbalances between the atmosphere and ground like a leaky capacitor. The Van Allen radiation belts act as a sort of toroidal capacitor which circles the planet and acts as the source of many, if not all, of the lightning discharges we see. We can see that they are perturbed when lightning strikes occur, and a global map of lightning strikes demonstrates that they occur more frequently directly beneath the Van Allen radiation belts. In fact, the homopolar motor morphology is the fundamental morphology for planets, stars and galaxies.

Elemental transmutation is in all likelihood more prevalent in the universe and even here on Earth than mainstream scientists currently accept, and probably most of it occurs in highly transient and violent catastrophic events. The problem, right now, is that scientists have bought into this antiquated concept of uniformitarianism, which tends to mis-direct research funding away from the study of these transient events. Even though evidence continually disconfirms uniformitarianism, it remains the guiding force in mainstream science's attempts to understand our surroundings.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367469)

That's some bad hat, Harry.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20373345)

It's like a car wreck. You just can't look away.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367639)

uhhhh.....what?

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (1)

MLopat (848735) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367883)

You know this has been proven false by more than a few people more than a few times over? Do a search for yourself and save the embarrassment of spewing someone else's literary diarrhea. For anyone that took the time to read the comment above, this theory is easily dismissed by the fact that electrons flowing TO the sun have NEVER been detected with the explanation from the believers of the electric model being "we're not looking hard enough"

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368001)

this theory is easily dismissed by the fact that electrons flowing TO the sun have NEVER been detected with the explanation from the believers of the electric model being "we're not looking hard enough"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we have NO way to detect electrons that don't strike normal matter? As in, if I send a stream of electrons 10 meters away from you in your spaceship, aren't you completely oblivious to what I did if I missed?

We also haven't detected one species splitting into two -- does that mean that evolution's a load of crap?

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (2, Insightful)

niklask (1073774) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368115)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't we have NO way to detect electrons that don't strike normal matter? As in, if I send a stream of electrons 10 meters away from you in your spaceship, aren't you completely oblivious to what I did if I missed?

You are wrong. Electrons in magnetic fields radiate synchrotron radiation and wee know that the Solar system and the Milky Way is pervaded by magnetic fields.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20370407)

We also haven't detected one species splitting into two

Yes we have.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368523)

Wait? What? You are saying that the existance of gamma-ray flashes which resulted from atmospheric activity is wrong? I do not see how this relates to electrons flowing to the sun.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379159)

You know this has been proven false by more than a few people more than a few times over?

Are you referring to Tim Thompson's critique of The Electric Sun Theory? That's been rebutted ...

http://www.electric-cosmos.org/Rejoinder.htm [electric-cosmos.org]

Do a search for yourself and save the embarrassment of spewing someone else's literary diarrhea.

I've been "searching" for a year now, and I'm fairly familiar with the debate. Contrary to your own assertion, there is a debate here. Many people will actually be surprised to learn that they cannot even find Electric Universe Theory on wikipedia, thanks to Josh Shroeder (aka ScienceApologist) and others. So, Josh has decided to make the decision for you. I suppose we should thank him. He's graced us with his presence actually recently, and it became extremely clear that he believes that nothing that he has ever read in his astrophysical textbooks can ever be untrue.

For anyone that took the time to read the comment above, this theory is easily dismissed by the fact that electrons flowing TO the sun have NEVER been detected with the explanation from the believers of the electric model being "we're not looking hard enough"

Actually, measuring electron drift is not as simple as you say here. It is far simpler on larger scales though. In fact, we would expect to see pretty much what we do see on larger scales: that the solar wind continues to accelerate as it passes the planets. The mainstream lacks a meaningful explanation for why this might be occurring.

It's also worth noting that the Ulysses probe has in fact observed a hot mph flow of electrons and protons at the Sun's poles. The mainstream prefers to believe though that it doesn't actually do anything.

Offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20374347)

You don't need to fall back on the electric universe theory to explain lightning, or even the accelleration of particles due to lightning. The Lorentz force has been long and well established, and lightning is caused by the transport of charged particles by convection. It occurs in a net neutral, electrically closed system, the exact opposite of what EU claims.

But since you bring up EU once again (and in a much less relevant discussion than previously), the Grand Canyon does not have a delta because it doesn't let out into a static body of water. It ends in...surprise...more river. The Colorado river does terminate in a delta.

Trying to use EU to explain away erosion and meteor impacts is just plain silly. There is a complete lack of evidence for it, where as the cutting through stratification and the crater formation modelling and hypervelocity impact testing (which perfectly explains your center "spires") are almost immutable support for more ordinary phenoma like water erosion and big rocks hitting things moving really fast.

And tornadoes are a pressure phenomenon. The fact that there is lightning associated with them doesn't change that.

At some point you're going to have to stop posting crap until you've come up with a consistent theory starting from the bottom up and have some math and observations (like a net current toward the sun of a magnitude capable of supporting the sun's output). If EU is right, or even remotely close to right, it should be possible to come up with this.

Re:Offtopic (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379241)

You don't need to fall back on the electric universe theory to explain lightning

No, then what are Sprites?

The Lorentz force has been long and well established, and lightning is caused by the transport of charged particles by convection. It occurs in a net neutral, electrically closed system, the exact opposite of what EU claims.

Then why do we see it occasionally going into space? Why would lightning be traveling outside of your electrically closed system?

But since you bring up EU once again (and in a much less relevant discussion than previously), the Grand Canyon does not have a delta because it doesn't let out into a static body of water. It ends in...surprise...more river. The Colorado river does terminate in a delta.

You ignore the fact that the Colorado river goes straight through the Kaibab Upwarp. Rivers tend to go around large obstacles rather than cutting through them.

Trying to use EU to explain away erosion and meteor impacts is just plain silly. There is a complete lack of evidence for it, where as the cutting through stratification and the crater formation modelling and hypervelocity impact testing (which perfectly explains your center "spires") are almost immutable support for more ordinary phenoma like water erosion and big rocks hitting things moving really fast.

Are you aware that some of these central spires have been observed to retain their stratigraphy?

And tornadoes are a pressure phenomenon. The fact that there is lightning associated with them doesn't change that.

That's interesting. Peter Thompson's experiment where he created a tornado within a petri dish used no pressure whatsoever ...

http://www.peter-thomson.co.uk/tornado/fusion/Char ge_sheath_vortex_basics_for_tornado.html [peter-thomson.co.uk]

At some point you're going to have to stop posting crap until you've come up with a consistent theory starting from the bottom up and have some math and observations (like a net current toward the sun of a magnitude capable of supporting the sun's output). If EU is right, or even remotely close to right, it should be possible to come up with this.

There are plenty of reasons for why EU Theorists could be correct. Focusing on just one mathematical item over-simplifies the issue. Numerous observations suggest that electrical plasmas are common in space. You will never realize this so long as you apply pseudo-skepticism to ATM theories, and refuse to actually read what is being said.

Re:Wow. That's some high energy Gamma Rays (2, Interesting)

mefein (664330) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367059)

Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes were discovered in 1994 by BATSE - a space based experiment that operated in the 90's. They are quite common (several per day). It is amazing that there are such efficient accelerators in the Earths atmosphere.

GLAST [nasa.gov] , is a new gamma-ray mission which will launch early next year and will have the capability to measure TGFs up to much higher energies -- so we will get to really understand the acceleration mechanism. Both instruments on GLAST are designed to observe the celestial sky, but they have such large fields of view that they can also simultaneously make observations of the Earth for at least some of the time.

EMI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20365279)

They ruled out some spectrum of non-gamma EMI from the lightning discharge wasn't getting into the test equipment and giving false readings?

I thought the atmosphere was opaque to gamma rays (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366537)

The gamma ray observatories have to be in orbit. How is someone on the ground detecting gamma rays?

Re:I thought the atmosphere was opaque to gamma ra (2, Informative)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 6 years ago | (#20366813)

There are ground based gamma ray detectors (Google [google.com] ). They don't detect the gamma rays directly, but rather the showers as the gamma rays interact with molecules in the atmosphere.

Re:I thought the atmosphere was opaque to gamma ra (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20373965)

Google is a gamma ray detector? Well, I suppose they would index high energy radiation - they index everything else.

Re:I thought the atmosphere was opaque to gamma ra (1)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367097)

Isn't that what makes your films exposed? oh wait...

Some numbers (3, Informative)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367177)

A basic calculation indicates that as many as 0.7-3% of 10 MeV gammas could make it down from 2000 m. Put another way, any gamma headed for their detector will make it there about that percentage of the time. Starting with a high flux could mean that a significant number of gammas make it to the scintillators, which can trigger off of relatively small numbers of photons.

That having been said, 2000m is the lower end of the altitude range (as I understand it) for storm clouds, and my calculation assumed dry air at sea level. The attenuation of photons does go up pretty sharply as you get to energies less than 10 MeV, as well.

Re:I thought the atmosphere was opaque to gamma ra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367655)

They get little people to run round pointing geiger counters at the sky.

Re:I thought the atmosphere was opaque to gamma ra (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367683)

Relatively opaque. 100 meters of atmosphere (sea level) will absorb about 50% of the gamma rays.

This is new ????? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366583)

I have chaired sessions at meetings of the American Geophysical Union where this topic was discussed - over ten years ago!

THe Stanford radio science group is very active in modelling runaway electron acceleration such as this. In addition to gamma rays, free neutrons can also be produced.

Re:This is new ????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367491)

I have swept up after meetings of the American Geophysical Union where this topic was discussed - over ten years ago!
Fixed.

Re:This is new ????? (2, Funny)

jddj (1085169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367905)

In addition to gamma rays, free neutrons can also be produced.

If I order a couple cases, is there a shipping charge?

Gamma Rays, not Cosmic Rays, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20366997)

This could have been a collection of HULK/GODZILLA quips, but a few "EXPERTS" had to ruin it for the rest of us. Fuckin' gamma-ray specialists! Count the posts before me, apparently nobody gives a poop any-hoo!

Signed,

The Cowardly Lion

PS - Someone could have at least made a Fantastic Four comment so everyone else could have corrected them.

Popping light bulbs and flat batteries (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367117)

I guess that explains why my light bulbs keep popping and the batteries in my remote controls keep going flat whenever there's stormy weather.

Re:Popping light bulbs and flat batteries (1)

st1d (218383) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368475)

>>>I guess that explains why my light bulbs keep popping and the batteries in my remote controls keep going flat whenever there's stormy weather.

***Occam's Razor Unsheathed***

Keep them out of the drink!

***Occam's Razor Sheathed*** :)

Bump that story! (2, Funny)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367181)

The story so nice, they posted it twice. ... and still only 23 comments.

They are X-rays, not gamma rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367287)

Unless they originate from a nuclear field, they are still x-rays. Various particle accelerator sources of photons are high energy, but they are x-ray sources.

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367485)

Unless they originate from a nuclear field, they are still x-rays
I've never heard that definition of gamma radiation before. By convention photons are usually classified by energy: radio, microwave, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-ray. But really, a photon is a photon. It is all "gamma radiation"

Depends on who you're talking to. (4, Informative)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367561)

It's really one of those jargon-related things that happen so often in physics. Your average physicist uses "intensity" in ways that make optical scientists rip their hair out, since in optics intensity has a very specific definition. In the same vein, radiation scientists reserve "gamma" to describe photons originating from nuclear processes. Physicists in other specializations generally just go by energy because gammas tend to be higher in energy than X-rays. It's not necessarily the case though.

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367587)

Well, you learn something new everyday.

The border between x-rays and gamma isnt defined by energy.

There are gamma decays with only a few 10s of keV (just take any mösbauer experiment), and there are
x-rays in the many 100keV range (Uranium K-line, High energy undulators at the higher electron energy synchrotrons like SPring8, ESRF or APS).

For that reason in the range between 10keV and 1MeV, to avoid confusion, stuff is usually named by how it is made.
Although to be fair, starting at multi-MeV, the distinction kinda loses its point.
End lets not get started with the more or less arbitrary distinction between cosmic rays (the photon kind) and gamma rays (i have seen values between 100MeV and 10s of GeV for the threshold...)

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367825)

I understand that the distinction is useful to somebody, in certain cases. But as far as I know the only distinguishing characteristic of a photon is its energy. Are you saying that an instrument could tell the difference between a cosmic ray @ 1 MeV and a fission gamma @ 1 MeV?

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368449)

Yup. The cosmic ray usually isn't a photon, it's a particle of some type that slams into the atmosphere and turns into a bunch of other particles, which slam into the atmosphere some more and eventually turn into some sort of photon. That is opposed to the gamma ray which IS a photon.

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369563)

You replay doesn't answer the question I was trying to ask. Obviously you can distinguish between a gamma and a neutron, beta, alpha, positron, etc.

Do two gammas at the exact same energy have any way to distinguish them based on their origin?

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

Bloodoflethe (1058166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20370647)

I think you didn't get him. Either that or you need to define the sources of your "different" gamma rays at the same energy.

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20375575)

Are you saying that an instrument could tell the difference between a cosmic ray @ 1 MeV and a fission gamma @ 1 MeV?


I guess you didn't succeed in asking the question you wanted to.

The answer to your new question is that, no, you can't distinguish a gamma ray from a gamma ray when they both have the exact same energy -- they are exactly the same.

The answer to the question I think you're TRYING to ask, can you distinguish an x-ray from a gamma ray of the same energy, is no, not if you only have a detector to work with. The distinction is entirely on the production side. Often you can tell because they're not the same energy though -- the processes that produce gamma and x-rays tend to produce more of them at particular energies.

In this case, since they're saying they know the source of the radiation, there should be no doubt about whether it's x-rays or gammas.

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379297)

Back to the original post:

Unless they originate from a nuclear field, they are still x-rays. Various particle accelerator sources of photons are high energy, but they are x-ray sources.
All I was trying to say is that this statement is only true for a certain set of definitions. In terms of the inherent properties of the photons there is no difference between x-ray and gamma radiation, unless you draw some arbitrary boundary based on energy.

Re:They are X-rays, not gamma rays (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380839)

Yes. The correct definition. ;)

You're right, the definition seems a little pointless until you understand a bit more about it. To start with, it's a bit of a historical thing, since x-rays and gamma rays were discovered at different times. Actually, all of the divisions in the EM spectrum are where they are mostly for historical reasons, which in turn are mostly due to the different processes that are required to produce the radiation. You can make radio waves by varying an electric current, but you (before LEDs) needed to heat something up to get IR, visible and UV. X-rays were produced by bombarding a target with electrons. Gammas produced by nuclear processes.

The naming does make sense though -- you're normally not so interested in the radiation itself but rather in where it came from. Normally the energy spectrum of the radiation gives away whether it's x-rays or gamma rays as well. So yes, practically, you can usually tell whether some detected radiation is gamma or x-rays by looking at the distribution of energies. Not for a single photon, but you rarely measure those except in things like particle accelerators where you know if it's an x-ray or gamma anyway.

Actually, I think the original poster has it backwards. Most particle accelerator sources produce gamma rays because the source is nuclear decay processes. For example, crashing positrons into electrons produces a pair of gamma rays (at a very particular energy).

I for one ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367291)

welcome our new Gigantic Sprite [spaceweather.com] overlords ...

Radiation Overdose? (2, Interesting)

soccer_Dude88888 (1043938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367337)

If thunderclouds can accelerate radiation energy, how come I never heard of people died in places where there are lots of thuderstorm activities due to radiation overdose?

Besides, even though there is no thunderstorm, cosmic rays can generate energy up to 1GeV.

Re:Radiation Overdose? (3, Informative)

StrongAxe (713301) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368473)

If thunderclouds can accelerate radiation energy, how come I never heard of people died in places where there are lots of thuderstorm activities due to radiation overdose?

The gamma rays were only detected because they were near a nuclear power plant. Presumably such plants have very sensitive radiation detection equipment, and the number of ACTUAL gamma ray photos is sufficiently low that only very sensitive equipment could actually notice them.

Re:Radiation Overdose? (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369187)

Presumably such plants have very sensitive radiation detection equipment

The scientists installed their own equipment. From TFA:

"Installed at the rooftop of a building in this power plant, our [editor: the authors...] new automated radiation detection system has been continuously and successfully operated since 2006 December 22."

Re:Radiation Overdose? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#20370343)

According tothe graphs in he paper, at peakthey detected 1900 photons/sec. That's a very low intensity exposure. As you summised it's only noticable to a very sensitive detector. For comparison, a 60 Watt bulb emits 10 to the 20th power photons per second. 1900/second for a few seconds won't even show up on a dosimeter much less kill someone.

Re:Radiation Overdose? (1)

st1d (218383) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368513)

>>>If thunderclouds can accelerate radiation energy, how come I never heard of people died in places where there are lots of thuderstorm activities due to radiation overdose?

Um, lightning?

Re:Radiation Overdose? (1)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369027)

If thunderclouds can accelerate radiation energy, how come I never heard of people died in places where there are lots of thuderstorm activities due to radiation overdose?
Um, lightning?

Interesting... I wonder, how much of the electrical discharge is actually released as photons? And what exactly is the process by which they harm the things they strike, so to speak... ? For some reason, I've never actually considered the process by which lightning makes light.

Re:Radiation Overdose? (2, Interesting)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369429)

Humans are much more tolerant to (relatively) small amounts of radiation than people often think. Depending on where you live, your average yearly dose can vary by almost a factor of 1,000 - the relative dose from such events in thunderstorms is much less than this variation in background, given how little is produced by any given event.

Also, while 1GeV is a typical cosmic ray energy, they can go much much higher. The "Oh my god" particle [wikipedia.org] had an energy of around 50 Joules. That's comprable to a well-hit tennisball, which is a whopping amount of energy for a subatomic particle.

Re:Radiation Overdose? (3, Insightful)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369775)

Ionizing radiation is much like most other poisons in that dose is critical in determining subsequent health effects. You are--right now--not only being bombarded by tiny amounts of ionizing radiation from most things around you, but your body tissues themselves are releasing ionizing radiation: they contain completely natural but radioactive potassium-40. It is, however, a very, very low level of radiation.

According to our best theories--which, to be honest, are not by any means set in stone--there is no absolutely safe lower threshold for radiation exposure IF you consider the chances for causing cancer and genetic effects. These are called "stochastic" radiation effects, because they are best described in terms of risk and probability and do not have definite thresholds. For acute radiation toxicity--vomiting, blistering, and so on--there are fairly well-defined threshold doses; these radiation sicknesses are called "deterministic" effects because we can safely say that, given a certain amount of damage, you have a certain (high) chance of acute radiation sickness. These latter effects are similar to other toxic substances, in that they are talked about in terms of doses that have some specific chance (say, 50% or 99%) of causing an effect.

The amount of radiation-induced damage caused by the gammas released by a thunderstorm is very likely to be well below the thresholds for deterministic effecs, which means that an average person has essentially no chance of developing acute radiation sickness from a thunderstorm. Exposure to low levels of radiation may increase your chance of developing cancer, but such an increase is naturally impossible to quantify.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20367579)

What is the importance of this?

Exactly (1)

Kythe (4779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367633)

The theory is that showers of electrons caused by cosmic rays, when they encounter the high electric fields present in thunderstorm clouds, can be accelerated to energies above 10 MeV and result in bremsstrahlung photons detectable on the ground.


Sure. I was just going to say that. :)

Re:Exactly (2, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368333)

result in bremsstrahlung photons detectable on the ground.

It is braking news about radiation after all.

Re:Exactly (1)

AWeishaupt (917501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20370473)

If this physics geek had mod points right now, the above comment would be getting modded up.

Re:Exactly (1)

v1980z (917822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20370025)

damn, he stole your thunder

Bull sh*t (3, Funny)

riffzifnab (449869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367737)

I call shinanagans. If this was true there would be a whole lot more green people running around smashing things. Everyone knows that gamma rays = Hulk, its a proven scientific fact.

Re:Bull sh*t (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367925)

What? no, most of the time it kills you. You only get Hulkinization if the test subject is particularly moody and bottles up their emotions. These seemingly contradictory requirements are necessary conditions, though they may not be sufficient.

Re:Bull sh*t (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368465)

What? no, most of the time it kills you. You only get Hulkinization if the test subject is particularly moody and bottles up their emotions. These seemingly contradictory requirements are necessary conditions, though they may not be sufficient.

OK, so there will be no emo-Hulks. Good enough for me.

Re:Bull sh*t (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20379061)

This is slashdot, all we have are a bunch of spideys. They too release a sticky white fluid via a wrist action.

I know one way to find out for sure. (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367857)

Tesla coils in a rainstorm with Geiger counters.

slashdot has failed me. (3, Funny)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20367981)

With 41 comments, I expected at least ONE Incredible Hulk reference.

You're all very bad nerds.

Re:slashdot has failed me. (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369337)

You need your glasses checked!

The post above yours has a hulk reference :-)

Re:slashdot has failed me. (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380627)

Dude, did it take you over half an hour to compose that reply? There was at least one comment posted referencing the Hulk a full 34 minutes prior to yours. What, did you do a Google search to find something clever to come up with or something?

Wait a minute... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368541)

I thought this article was supposed to be about KFC coming up with a new way to cook chicken wings.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20369209)

From England, we hear that the colonel is starting a designer label of clothing made entirely of chicken feathers. It's called KFCuk.

Where have I seen this before? (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#20368639)

A Japanese nuclear plant, cosmic rays, thunderclouds? What could possibly [wikipedia.org] go wrong?

This is self evidently garbage. (1)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369055)

the reason it is crud,

A.) There is more than one nuclear plant in the world, and most o them get rained on at one time or another.
B.) Nuclear plants check constantly for even the lowest levels of radiation.
C.) Japan does not have magic special super clouds.

If this theory were true we'd have heard about it years and years ago he first time there was a big thunderstorm at a Nuclear plant.

Re:This is self evidently garbage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20369811)

C.) Japan does not have magic special super clouds.
Yes they do!
Monkey Magic anyone?

- Seks

Re:This is self evidently garbage. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20374007)

C.) Japan does not have magic special super clouds.

Monkey, Great Sage, equal of Heaven, may be visiting. But in that case, the cloud would be pink.

Re:This is self evidently garbage. (2, Informative)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20374977)

I'm not sure if you're joking or not, so I'll reply anyways. From the paper:

A.) This is regularly detected at multiple nuclear plants, but is not caused by them. It is serendipitous because the plants already the gamma-ray detectors for operational monitoring.

B.) Superlatives like "lowest levels of radiation" are seldom meaningful in science. The detectors would have a minimum level they can reliably sense. Also, they can't determine the direction or frequency of the photons. The team that authored this paper set up a detector that can. Presumably they chose to set it up at that particular plant so they could correlate their detailed observations with those from the plant's detectors.

C.) The research was conducted by the University of Tokyo and the Japanese Space Agency (and others). The effect is not unique to Japan, rather the work was done in Japan. And yes, Japan does have magic special super clouds, but they are licensed to the makers of the Final Fantasy series.

Lastly, the effect was first suggested in 1925, but hasn't been investigated much since. Again, it's not caused by the nuclear plant (the submitter wasn't very clear about that). The plant just happened to be a convenient laboratory.

Re:This is self evidently garbage. (1)

bombastinator (812664) | more than 6 years ago | (#20381745)

DOH! I was somehow connecting this with the earthquake based radiation release at a Japanese nuclear plant earlier. It sounded like this was being used as a cover to explain away the issue as an atmospheric effect rather than admit it actually happened.

Too many Japanese nuclear plants in the news in a short amount of time I guess.

You got to admit it's odd though. If they've been playing with this since the 20's and all, Why are they suddenly studying it in japan right after a hugely embarrassing accident? It still looks like a spin control stunt.

I guess it's like NASA sending a light sabre into space so folks will forget about NASAs romantic issues. Sort of making "Luke, I am your father" out of "Who's your daddy!"

Bremsstrahlung photons from clouds (3, Funny)

The Media Mechanic (1084283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369141)

HOLY CRAP... BREMSSTRAHLUNG PHOTONS from frikkin BASIC FLUFFY CLOUDS IN THE SKY. What's next, some goshdarned erenkov radiation being emitted from like, Innocent Little Bunny Rabbits?! Or like, some freaking Antideuterium Particles shooting out of Very Cute Baby Kittens ??

Re:Bremsstrahlung photons from clouds (1)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20380613)

Put the bunny back in the box.

So (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369423)

when are we going to see first godzilla invasion ?

Why now ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20369911)

why until now this wasnt discovered ? radiation measurement is not something new, we are even able to map distant galaxies with radio telescopes, listen to background radiation with passive telescopes. clouds arent something new ? why did this discovery wait until now ?

Suspected relation (4, Informative)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 6 years ago | (#20370085)

There is a suspected but yet unproven relation between cosmic rays and lightning. The theory is that when a cosmic particle strikes the atmophere, it ionises a path though the atmophere. This then provides a conduit for lightning.
This is currently a hot research topic in particle physics and meteorology.

A professor in Nijmegen and a collegue of mine are studying this phenomena (Heino Falcke and Lars Bähren)
http://www.physorg.com/news4162.html [physorg.com]
http://www.lofar.org/workshop/23Apr07_Monday02/LOF ARWorkshop_Apr07_HeinoFalcke.pdf [lofar.org]

Re:Suspected relation (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#20375373)

Seems more likely to me. 10MeV is one heck of a potential to build up in a Thundercloud. The idea of an something external with high energy acting as a trigger seems a rather neat solution of how to get the massive flashovers that are lightning.

old news (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20370769)

Those with a taste for good metal would have detected Gamma Ray in Japan after their album "Sigh No More" in 1992. Though I have no idea how they managed to get into a nuclear base.

Interesting (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20372887)

Interesting discovery that a high-voltage, high current discharge can produce high-energy photons. Who didn't know that one? Gammas and hard X-Rays are the same thing, just differentiated by their source. X-Rays come from electron interactions and gammas from nuclear processes. Gotta figure that some electrons will be excited to higher than average energies during a lightning bolt and produce some really energetic X-Rays that will be detected as gammas. Although, I have to admit I am still much more worried about being hit by the lightning bolt itself rather than a miniscule amount of radiation from the discharge. What are we talking about here, about 1 micro-REM per lifetime?

Bremsstrahlung does not produce gamma rays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20375935)

Bremsstrahlung produces x-ray photons; nuclear reactions produce gamma photons.

Quote from that horrible blog (1)

fontkick (788075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20378133)

"If yer gonna build a quantum computer, yer gonna need some quantum memory to store qubits."

--

Yer also gonna need some real good smart folks whose readin' and writin' skills don't come from schoolin' they got down 'n South yonder.

Excuse me for a while, I need to go read a few books to make up for the five minutes I spent at that redneck blog.
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