Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16
In 1925, C. R. T. Wilson proposed that the electric fields in clouds might accelerate electrons to relativistic speeds causing the release of gamma rays. The Fermi Gamma-Ray Telescope has recently correlated observations of gamma ray bursts with the locations of thunderstorms. The processes in storms that generate gamma rays release very little light so have been called ‘dark lightning’. Near the tops of storms, the dose of radiation emitted could be equivalent to 100 chest X-rays, or a full CT scan.
J. R. Dwyer, Energetic Radiation and Lightning, In H. D. Betz, U. Schumann, & P. Laroche (Eds.) Lightning: Principles, Instruments and Applications: Review of Modern Lightning Research, Springer Science+Business Media B. V., 2009, 331-346, p. 332.
M. S. Briggs, G. J. Fishman, V. Connaughton, P. N. Bhat, W. S. Paciesas, R. D. Preece, … & C. A. Meegan, First results on terrestrial gamma ray flashes from the Fermi Gamma‐ray Burst Monitor. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, vol. 115, no. A07323, 2010, pp. 1-14.
Science Daily Website, Dark lightning: Are airplane passengers exposed to radiation from intense bursts of gamma-rays from thunderclouds? 10th April, 2013, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082734.html