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Can X-rays Pass Through The Atmosphere

author
James Smith
• Friday, 04 December, 2020
• 8 min read

Imagine a road covered with ping pong balls. Try to roll a marble across, and it will most probably bounce back and forth amongst the balls, and eventually stop without getting to the other side.

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Contents

Similarly, the atmosphere can be thought as the road with ping pong balls(molecules), and EM waves are various objects you try to roll. Light waves have much smaller wavelengths (in $\mu\text{m}$), but those are still large as compares to atoms (these are to the order $10^{-10}\text{m}$).

X-rays are small enough to be obstructed by everyone, thus (thankfully) they do not reach the crust and fry us. Because of their size, they do not give an accurate reading unless we employ large telescopes.

But if the ant throws a marble or a sesame seed (assuming you catch the seed and determine its velocity), you can calculate the trajectory and find the ant with accuracy, and squash him for throwing things at you. Harmful X-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet light, most coming from the Sun, is largely absorbed in the upper atmosphere.

If it weren't, liquid water on the surface would be heated to the boiling point and evaporate, leaving a dry planet similar to Venus. At electromagnetic wavelengths shorter than violet, which ends at about 280 nm, atmospheric transmittance rapidly drops off to near-zero.

They are also generated locally by anything that produces heat, and some organisms have evolved adaptations that allow limited infrared vision. Astronomical observatories aiming for information about electromagnetic wavelengths blocked by the atmosphere either have to be floated on high- altitude balloons or put on satellites in orbit.

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Many combat aircraft, including the Russian Su-25, are fitted with infrared arrays for the detection and tracking of enemy targets. In addition to being an avid blogger, Michael is particularly passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies.

The Most Beautiful Women Forecasting the Weather Amazing Optical Illusions That Will Play Tricks on Your Mind 40 Wedding Picture Fails You Don't Want to Miss 17 Interesting Maps That Will Change Your Worldview Absorption by the Earth’s atmosphere restricts ground-based observations to radio, near infrared, and visible wavelengths.

The energy of the X-ray goes into tearing one of the electrons away from its orbit around the nucleus of a nitrogen or an oxygen atom This process is called photo-electric absorption, because a photon is absorbed in the process of removing an electron from an atom. X-ray telescopes in orbit above the Earth’s atmosphere can collect X-rays from energetic sources billions of light years away.

Alibaba's Jack Ma makes first public appearance in months Basically, X-rays have enough energy to interact with electrons deep within atoms and ionize them.

It is true that very high energy gamma rays do go through the Earth's atmosphere. Example, this is the same reason why AM radio stations go farther out than FM radio stations, This also the same reason why the bass on speakers goes farther out than the high pitch sounds.

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The photons from radio waves and visible light are too weak to be absorbed by atoms, but X-rays do. So by the time they reach the surface, they are rendered as harmless forms of radiation.

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Certain molecules such as ozone absorb high energy photons such as UV, x-rays and gamma rays. It's the nature of their electron shells and covalent bonds that absorb the radiation.

electromagnetic spectrum
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Fired employee accuses star MLB pitchers of cheating There is approximately 100 miles of air above you, which weighs ~14.7 pounds per square inch.

If you tried to shine a medical X-ray machine down through a column of water 32 feet deep, none of the X-rays would make it through to expose the X-ray film. X-ray electromagnetic radiation from celestial bodies, including the sun, are absorbed or deflected by the Earth's atmosphere.

Scroll down to near the bottom of the page to see which parts of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum is blocked by Earth's atmosphere : Date: Mon Sep 25 19:52:56 2000 Posted By: Bryan Mendez, Grad student, Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California at Berkeley Area of science: Astronomy ID: 968803918. AsMessage:X-rays from outer space can and do enter our atmosphere, but they do not make it all the way to the ground.

In fact, they do not typically make it more than a kilometer or so into the atmosphere before they are stopped. This means that only visible light of very specific energies can be absorbed by any given atom or molecule.

So the probability of a ray of visible light penetrating far into a gas before being absorbed is high. Thus, it's actually easier for gas like our atmosphere to stop x-rays than visible light.

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In the atmosphere, x-rays make it down only a short distance before they have encountered so many atoms and molecules that they are all absorbed. To sum up: X-rays have such high energy that they can ionize electrons from atoms and molecules.

So when they enter our atmosphere they are absorbed very quickly and none make it to the surface. If any of this was confusing, or you didn't understand the terminology I used please feel free to write me.

A portion of the incoming solar radiation is absorbed by gases in the Earth's atmosphere. The portions of the spectrum that are absorbed by atmospheric gases are known as absorption bands.

The primary gases that are responsible for the majority of the atmospheric absorption of energy are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ozone. This means absorption rates may vary depending on the location and the time of day and year.

Carbon Dioxide (CO 2) : Primarily absorbs radiation in the mid and far (thermal infrared) infrared portions of the spectrum Ozone (O 3) : Absorbs strongly in the UV portion of the spectrum (very short wavelengths) and is responsible for protecting us from damaging radiation that causes skin cancer. In contrast to the absorption, transmission is when electromagnetic energy is able to pass-through the atmosphere and reach the Earth's surface.

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Values close to 1, represent 100% transmittance, indicating the all radiation is able to pass-through the atmosphere at the given wavelength. It is always important to keep atmospheric windows in mind when designing and selecting senors for remote sensing applications.

Most remote sensing instruments on aircraft or satellite platforms operate in one or more of these atmospheric windows. Once you get a few hundred kilometers away from our beloved rocky planet things get uncomfortable due to the lack of oxygen, freezing, and high doses of radiation.

Especially the latter poses a great challenge for long-term space travel, and so people are working on various concepts to protect astronauts’ DNA from being smashed by cosmic rays. When German Jesuit priest and physicist Theodor Wolf climbed the Eiffel Tower in 1910 with an electrometer he wanted to show that natural sources of ionizing radiation are originating from the ground.

A few years later, Victor Hess undertook several risky balloon flights up to altitudes of 5.3 km to systematically measure the radiation level by observing the discharge rate of an electroscope. Van Allen Belt and location of South Atlantic Anomaly Credit: Marko Markovic, public domainLuckily for us, the Earth’s magnetic field deflects many of the charged particles so that they never hit the atmosphere.

Primary cosmic rays hitting the atoms in our atmosphere produce a shower of secondary particles with much lower energies so that most of them will not reach the ground. It provides a global map of radiation dose rates for different altitudes that are produced in near real-time from measurements of solar activity and cosmic rays.

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Note logarithmic scale. Credit: ASA/JPL-Caltech/Sari, Public Domain a crew member of the ISS, the average radiation dose is about 72 MTV for a six-month stay during solar maximum: it is about 50 times higher than on Earth. This is because the dominant source of radiation on the ISS is galactic cosmic rays (GCR), which are deflected by the Sun’s magnetic field.

Another big contribution to the radiation exposure aboard the ISS comes from protons trapped in the Van Allen belt. The exposure is largest when the ISS crosses the so-called South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) where the radiation belt comes closer to Earth’s surface.

Assuming that the crew would spend 18 months on the surface while they wait for the planets to realign, they will be exposed to an additional 330 MTV. This is equal to the exposure limit for NASA astronauts during their entire career, and corresponds to a 5.5% risk of death due to radiation-induced cancer.

The radiation protection plan for the Orion spacecraft includes building a shelter from stowage bags during an SEP event. Credit: NASA Astronauts aboard the ISS are partially protected against radiation by the station’s aluminum hull.

Materials with low atomic number provide the most effective protection against space radiation including secondary particles like neutrons. If we ever construct settlements on the Moon, they will probably be buried beneath lunar soil to be shielded from Sees and other cosmic rays.

mars mission tools chemin
(Source: www.cnet.com)

High-energy particle interactions can easily damage critical electronic systems on a spacecraft and are causing total or partial mission loss for between one and two satellites per year. Extreme Sees can even influence equipment on Earth like the 1972 solar storm which is said to have caused the accidental detonation of two dozen US sea mines in Vietnam.

These include powerful magnetic or electrostatic fields and plasma “bubbles” surrounding a spacecraft to deflect charged particles. Of course, radiation protection is only one of the many challenges posed by long-term space travel but let’s hope we will find ways to keep our astronauts safe and healthy.

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