The Guardian view on Cosmogenic radiation: scientific discovery | Editorial

“And the lightning caught us both in place, and forever-seamlessly focused the objects on one spot at once,” Crutchfield recounted in a letter to Otto J. Kaufmann, his classmate at the University of Missouri…

The Guardian view on Cosmogenic radiation: scientific discovery | Editorial

“And the lightning caught us both in place, and forever-seamlessly focused the objects on one spot at once,” Crutchfield recounted in a letter to Otto J. Kaufmann, his classmate at the University of Missouri in 1868. How Do You See Inside a Volcano? Try a Storm of Cosmic Particles has just been published by Harvard University Press in the United States and Britain.

The book presents a realistic account of conditions experienced by those privileged enough to see the lightning in a cloud rising from Earth’s core. How do you find a comet? Here’s one man’s account of what he found in the sky. How do you find the dinosaurs? Here are some vivid accounts of the many phenomena the discovery gave scientists. Here’s a scientist’s account of how the winds picked him up, and how he kept going after they let him down again.

View the video: Cosmic particles do good.

The story of how these scientists discovered the radiation at the heart of the planet comes with a telling warning about a new technology that promises to offer us another, more efficient way to probe the innermost parts of the Solar System.

Four scientists first found radio bursts on Earth some 150 years ago in the remote skies above India and the far reaches of the Indian Ocean. They picked up signals which cannot be accounted for by ordinary radio waves – including one that lasted billions of years. The discovery of the source of this radiation in 1989 brought together close to 40 countries, the aim was to find a mechanism for generating these signals and the discovery of a third-party initiator led to a breakthrough in how to detect neutron stars.

Earth, India and an unusual astronomer

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