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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Radiation Network

    Here's a grass roots network that is being created by Tim Flanegin that seeks to monitor radiation levels in North America and other key places. I'm not sure I follow all of the logic -- but it is an interesting project.

    Looking for input from our resident scientists... on this forum.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Radioactivity 101

    OK - the first thing you need to know is that radioactivity is perfectly normal and a whole lot of things that you would not normally think of as being radioactive, are. Things like granite and bananas and even other human beings. Then there are other sources of the same high energy particles and EM radiation that we normally associate with radioactivity, in particular cosmic rays and the cascade of various charged particles and ionizing radiation they set of as they enter the earth's atmosphere. The point is that there are all sorts of things which contribute to normal background radiation. This network uses Geiger Counters to measure how many charged particles are hitting in a certain area every minute (counts per minute or CPM) and displaying the readings from those dozen or so detectors in a map of the US. Pretty straightforward, and as the site mentions anything below 100 CPM is pretty unremarkable. It is also pretty unsophisticated in that Geiger counters make no real distinction between what kinds of charged particles are hitting them, or how much energy they are carrying. The unit you normally see radiation reported in these days is the sievert or miliisievert which not only takes into account the type of radiation, but the probability that it will be absorbed by different biological materials (bone, tissue, fluids) to give an overall measure of the likelihood of harmful effects. A raw Geiger count is useful but not terribly informative. Still a high count (in the hundreds of CPM for extended periods) is cause for concern.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Naturally occuring

    There's always been a fair amount of naturally occurring radioactivity here in the Mojave Desert -- from place to place. Las Vegas glows in the dark for a variety of reasons....

    Yeah, I thought the Geiger counter approach was somewhat low-tech -- but it does give a nice sort of benchmark.

    Thanks for the information.

    Did you have a "Supermoon" sighting tonight? Here in Las Vegas the view is hampered by a rain storm moving in.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default A rare occurrence !

    Did you have a "Supermoon" sighting tonight? Here in Las Vegas the view is hampered by a rain storm moving in.
    A rain cloud in Vegas !! Headline news.

    That was quite an impressive Moon sitting over the English Channel here last night under clear sky's.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some Great Stuff is Going on All the Time

    I'm all for anything that gets people looking up at, and noticing, things going on in the sky. This past week was a good example, First there was the conjunction (just two bodies close together) of Jupiter and Mercury just above the western horizon in the evening twilight. These are still visible with Jupiter being brightest 'star' in this section of the sky and Mercury just to the right of it. Note that some famous astronomers such as Copernicus and others may never have seen Mercury. Because it is so close to the Sun, it is hard to observe even for professionals.

    Then there was the 'super moon'. Yes, it's unusual for a full moon to occur when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit as happened last night, but every full moon is brighter and more spectacular than normal, significantly brighter than just having more of its lit surface visible from the Earth would account for. This is due to fluffiness of the moon's surface. Remember those famous photographs of the astronauts' footprints? When the moon isn't full all that light dust casts shadows on the surface, but the surface of the moon acts almost as a mirror when the sun, observer, and moon are in a nearly straight line as happens when the moon is full. Known as the 'opposition effect' or the 'opposition surge' this phenomenon can make the moon appear up to 40% brighter at such times, compared to just a day or two before or after full moon. Worth checking out.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default "...fluffiness of the moon's surface..."

    I've noticed that a couple of times, without knowing the explanation. Now, I doubt I'll ever forget your fluffy explanation.

    Mark

  7. Default

    Radiation network could have something to do with the Japan reactor incident?

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