Articles in Cosmic Rays
I’ve read a lot about cosmic rays over the years, written about them, and even hypothesized that the Great Pyramid is a cosmic ray shelter. But I always presumed that detecting cosmic rays was something that only top-level scientists could achieve. To my surprise, turns out that high school kids are doing it!
Nine local high school physics teachers from Riverside and San Bernardino counties participated in the workshop… The teachers will take the cosmic ray detectors they built to their classrooms for use by their students in research projects. The detectors measure the rate, energy and direction of cosmic rays.
So of course I immediately researched what it would take to acquire one. Unfortunately the only option I could find was to build one yourself. While the cost might not be a deterrent for some survivalists ($1000-$2000), you’ll also need to have some experience putting together electronic components. I doubt I …
If you ask me What could an ancient civilisation have predicted for Dec 21, 2012?, then my answer is a comet, either flying by or crashing into us, or a solar storm. If you take the predictive element out of the 2012 equation, my best guess is a magnetic pole shift, or crustal displacement, or both. Here’s an overview of my hypothesis, including some recent science news.
Magnetic Pole Shift
Scientists tell us that our magnetic poles have reversed in the past, and that they will again. They don’t really know how the process works, and are unable to predict the next reversal. They have been telling us that the process takes hundreds or thousands of years. Recent studies have shown that it can happen in the space of weeks or months, and I suggest it can happen overnight.
If a reversal involves a dramatic lessening of our geomagnetic field’s strength, then basically …
Sometimes if you turn a question around, it helps you understand the entirety of the topic at hand.
The most common question regarding the Great Pyramid is How did they construct it?
Far less often asked are questions like Why did they build it? and Why did they make it so big?
I’m aware of quite a few books that attempt to explain how it was built. And others that provide unorthodox explanations for the Great Pyramid’s purpose, such as The Giza Power Plant. I’m not aware of any books that provide an orthodox explanation for why the pyramids were built. I’ve not even seen a chapter that tries to explain why it needed to be so big. Sure, big is important – grandeur for a leader. But a quarter as big would still be awesome, and easier to achieve.
So here’s an open question, that I put to amateur and professional archaeologists and history experts: …
You may have come across hormesis previously:
charcoal water is often used when people have overdosed on their medications, but too many charred steaks increases your cancer risk
many ancient sites (i.e. stone circles) have people who believe that they have curative properties, yet they have heightened naturally occurring levels of radiation
cancer can be cured by radiation therapies
small amounts of DNA damage can lead to evolution, large amounts can kill
The last on the list is of particular interest to me. I think that evolution is partially driven by increases in cosmic radiation, that evolution and global cataclysms quite likely go hand-in-hand, and therefore the cataclysms include a component of cosmic radiation (suggesting a cause from beyond Earth). While a major increase in cosmic radiation could decimate life on our planet, a lesser increase could cause a beneficial, evolutionary rise in mutations.
Research in hormesis is growing rapidly in recent years, according to Science …
A lot of serious cataclysm research revolves around the event of 10-12 thousand years ago, when the ice age abruptly ended and mega-fauna were wiped out, especially in the Americas. Paul LaViolette is one of best credentialed researchers into what might occur in 2012, and his latest research was published in the journal Radiocarbon. LaViolette believes that a super sized solar proton event (SPE) impacted our planet roughly 13,000 years ago:
The radiocarbon increase of the two largest 14C spurts was comparable to that produced by a SPE at least 125 times stronger than the hard spectrum SPE that occurred in February 1956.
Extrapolating upward from that event, LaViolette estimates that the 12,837 years BP extinction level SPE would have delivered over a two day period a radiation dose of from 3 to more than 6 Sieverts, lethal dose (LD-100) for most mammals being in the range of 3 – 8 Sieverts.
According to recent reports, ice crystals in the sky are on the increase, as evidenced by some recent solar halos in Kolkata and Bournemouth:
The ice crystals are also to blame for a recent episode of severe turbulence aboard a Qantas flight. They have also caused problems in the ocean, in attempts to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak. Some researchers believe that an increase in ice crystals is due to an increase in cosmic rays. Perhaps these recent events are precursors to an announcement regarding uncertainty over why cosmic rays are suddenly more prevalent?
A neutrino observatory consisting of strings of detectors buried deep in Antarctic ice has confirmed that more cosmic rays arrive from some parts of the sky than others, something already observed in the northern hemisphere
BBC movie show Talking Movies has an interview with Sting about the new 2012 doco called 2012: Time For Change
Spanish asteroid trackers estimate that asteroid 1999 RQ36 has a chance in 1,000 of crashing into our planet in the year 2182. NASA says 1 in 3,570. At over 500 metres in width, the impact would be catastrophic. Still, you’d expect we’d be able to shift the path of an asteroid by then…
While this has no direct connection to 2012 itself, it does highlight how easily we are able to forget the extraordinary forces of cosmic rays, which are zapping through each of us right now, which account for 50% of current rates of genetic mutations, and an increase of which could be a tragedy for life on Earth.
It may sound far-fetched, but federal regulators are studying whether sudden acceleration in Toyotas is linked to cosmic rays. Radiation from space long has affected airplanes and spacecraft, and is known for triggering errors in computer systems, but has received scant attention in the auto industry.
The questions show how deep regulators and automakers may have to dig to solve the mysteries of sudden acceleration. An anonymous tipster whose complaint prompted regulators to look at the issue said the design of Toyota’s microprocessors, memory chips and software could make them more vulnerable than those of …
I really like “bad astronomy” articles, but even more so when they admit they are scared. In this instance it is a binary star known as Wr 104. At a distance of 5000-8000 light years a supernova is not expected to harm us. But a Gamma Ray Burst might, especially if it is aimed straight at us!
GRBs are a special type of supernova. When a very massive star explodes, the inner core collapses, forming a black hole, while the outer layers explode outwards. Due to a complex and fierce collusion of forces in the core, two beams of raw fury can erupt out of the star, mind-numbing in their power. Composed mostly of high-energy gamma rays, they can carry more energy in them than the Sun will put out in its entire lifetime. They are so energetic we can see them clear across the Universe, and having one too close …
Within the “Space Age” (since the 1950s) this year marks the greatest intensity of cosmic rays reaching planet Earth. Not coincidentally, this year is also the lowest solar minimum of the period. Basically more solar activity means more solar wind which enhances the heliosphere, the Sun’s magnetic field that helps protect us.
It’s a double-edged sword; at one end of the scale we get more cosmic rays, which means greater levels of mutation (cosmic rays are responsible for roughly 50% of random genetic damage), and at the other end we get an increase in solar flares, which can cause us harm when aimed in our direction.
If we could choose, we’d like the sun to be average, always.
Researchers working from seven years worth of results from the Los Alamos’ Milagro cosmic-ray observatory have found that the two spots (marked in red above), have been sending us more cosmic rays than would be expected statistically.
Interestingly, these hotspots, located near the constellations of Gemini and Taurus, are very close to Orion – a place well-known to alternative Egyptologists.
The two possibilites presented are:
a) something in that area that we don’t presently understand is emitting the cosmic rays
b) something we have not yet discovered is acting like a gravitational lens, making the rays appear to come from those spots
Either way, hopefully in the next 4 years the experts will work out what is going on.
(Nearby in space terms means hundreds of light years…)
For the last 8 years researchers in Antarctica have been flying a balloon carrying the NASA-funded cosmic ray detector known as the Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter. Results have shown that more high-energy cosmic rays are crashing into our atmosphere than expected. Their high-energy indicates that they must come from reasonably close by, for they lose energy over long distances.
Possible sources include dark matter (still theoretical), or “a nearby pulsar, a ‘microquasar’ or a stellar-mass black hole.”
More at NASA
Ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) are the fastest moving objects ever found. If a ray of light travels through a void for 300 million years, and an UHECR travels on the same journey, light will get there a mere microsecond quicker.
Given the density of microwave radiation thought to fill the voids of space, scientists have been puzzled as to how the UHECRs are hitting Earth at full speed, without being slowed down by radiation (or anything else in their way).
According to Scientific American (April 2008, pages 14-15), the world’s largest array of cosmic ray detectors in Argentina has discovered that most UHECRs are coming from nearby galaxies. Strangely none are coming from the Virgo cluster of galaxies, only 60 million light years away.
One of the possible explanations is that super-massive black holes in Virgo are lacking the power of those in other nearby galaxies.
As usual, the super-massive black hole at …
According to New Scientist, Nov 17 2007:
The Auger researchers analysed all 27 of the most energetic cosmic rays… and found that almost all seemed to come from AGNs less than 250 million light years away…
However… astronomers can’t yet rule out the possibility that some high-energy cosmic rays come from gamma-ray bursts
AGNs are Active Galactic Nuclei, of which the nearest is our own Galactic Center – which so far does not appear to spit out cosmic rays, but you’d be foolish to think that this means it won’t.
Observers had believed white dwarfs were inert stellar corpses that slowly cool and fade away…At least one white dwarf, known as AE Aquarii, emits pulses of high-energy (hard) X-rays as it whirls around on its axis. “We’re seeing behavior like the pulsar in the Crab Nebula, but we’re seeing it in a white dwarf,” says Koji Mukai of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
…Some white dwarfs, including AE Aquarii, spin very rapidly and have magnetic fields millions of times stronger than Earth’s. These characteristics give them the energy to generate cosmic rays.
Found at Space Daily.
(great, more to worry about!)