Invisible ’Dark Lighting’ Blasts Airline Passengers With Radiation
By Charles Q. Choi | Business Insider
"Dark lightning" that is almost invisible within clouds may regularly blast airline passengers with large numbers of gamma rays, scientists find.
However, these outbursts do not seem to reach truly dangerous levels, researchers added.
More than a decade ago, researchers unexpectedly discovered thunderstorms could generate brief but powerful bursts of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light. These so-called terrestrial gamma-ray flashes are so bright that they are able to blind sensors on satellites many hundreds of miles away.
Artist impression of a terrestrial gamma-ray flash, called "dark lightning," originating from a thunderstorm. The gamma rays (pink), in turn, generate electrons and positrons (yellow and green), their antimatter counterparts, which get blasted into space.
Worryingly, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes can occur near the same altitudes at which commercial aircraft regularly fly. Attempts to discover whether these flashes pose a radiation hazard to airline passengers have been hampered by a poor understanding of the cause of these flashes. Past research has also found these flashes hurl beams of antimatter into space.
"We know in detail how black holes work at the centers of distant galaxies, but we don’t really understand what is going on inside thunderclouds just a few miles over our heads," said researcher Joseph Dwyer, a physicist at the Florida Institute of Technology.
Now computer models suggest the flashes are caused by an extreme form of lightning. Although they may blast out large numbers of gamma rays, they generate very little visible light, leading scientists to call the phenomenon "dark lightning."
"I find it amazing that it took us two-and-a half centuries after Ben Franklin to find out that there is another kind of lightning inside thunderstorms," Dwyer told LiveScience.
Normal lightning involves slow electrons that carry electric current to the ground or within clouds. In contrast, dark lightning involves high-energy electrons. These electrons slam into air molecules, producing gamma rays. In turn, these gamma rays generate electrons and their antimatter counterparts, known as positrons. These high-energy particles collide into still more air molecules, generating more gamma rays, ultimately explaining many of the properties of the gamma-ray flashes that scientists have detected from thunderstorms.
Ordinary lightning arcs from one spot to another to reduce the voltage growing within clouds. Dark lightning does so as well, and since much higher energy particles are involved, it reduces voltage far more quickly, so the electric fields within them "can collapse in a few tens of microseconds," Dwyer said.
Dark lightning and radiation
Armed with a model that potentially explains these gamma-ray flashes, Dwyer and his colleagues analyzed how much radiation airline passengers might receive from them. Near the tops of thunderstorms, at about 40,000 feet (12,200 meters) in altitude, the scientists calculated that radiation doses are comparable to about 10 chest X-rays, or about the same dose people receive from natural background sources of radiation over the course of a year.
However, near the middle of the storms, at about 16,000 feet (4,900 meters) in altitude, "the radiation dose could be about 10 times larger, comparable to some of the largest doses received during medical procedures and roughly equal to a full-body CT scan," Dwyer said.
Read the full article at: businessinsider.com
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
David Talbott - Lightning Scarred Planet Mars & The Electric Sun
Wallace Thornhill - The Electric Universe
Donald E. Scott - The Electric Sky
Rens van der Sluijs - Plasma Mythology & The Axis Mundi
Susan Joy Rennison - A New Cosmic Age, Space Weather & Cosmic Radiation
Matthew Stein - Hour 1 - When Technology Fails & Six Civilization Busters
Matthew Stein - Hour 2 - 400 Chernobyls, Super Solar Storms & EMPs
Will Hart - Solar Flare Apocalypse, Accelerated Natural Disasters & Evolution
Will Hart - Accelerated Natural Disasters, Aftermath & Evolution
Latest News from our Front Page
The Pilgrims Were Definitely Not Like Modern-Day Refugees
This upcoming Thanksgiving Day is sure to offer you and your family plenty of opportunities to argue over whether America should be welcoming Syrian refugees.
If you have any liberal relatives or friends coming over for your Thursday feast, theyâ€™re going to relish the chance to tell everyone that the Pilgrims were refugees too â€” and hope that statement decimates all ...
ISIS to France: "We will be coming. Victory has been promised to us by Allah"
Homegrown French ISIS fighters have issued a chilling threat of new attacks on France just 24 hours after the terrorist group used movie footage of the Eiffel Tower's collapse in another video.
A balaclava-clad militant is seen warning 'we will be coming, we will come to crush your country' in footage posted on Twitter earlier today.
It is unclear where the film ...
ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group
She appeared in social media images for the group carrying a Kalashnikov and surrounded by armed men
A teenage girl who ran away from her Vienna home to join Isis in Syria has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after trying to escape.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, travelled to Syria last year with her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15.
The two became a ...
The Right Stuff's flagship podcast "The Daily Shoah" has been censored by Soundcloud
Editor's note: The PC corporate moral police strike again. Just as Radio 3Fourteen & Red Ice Radio were censored from iTunes, The Daily Shoah was pulled from Soundcloud today. As per usual, there is a double standard, they allow any kind of anti-White material:
No counter culture humor making fun of the genocidal mainstream garbage is allowed!
Soundcloud took it upon ...
Merkel Welcomes A Million More: Vows To Stand By Refugee Policy Despite Security Fears
Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Wednesday to stick to her open-door refugee policy, defying criticism at home and abroad which has intensified due to growing fears about a potential security risk after the Islamist attacks in Paris.
Conservative Merkel faces splits in her right-left coalition and pressure from EU states, including France, over her insistence that Germany can cope with up ...
|More News » |