Question: Name the place where first time in the world a muon detection facility measures potential of thundercloud?
Answer 🙁 a)
- For the first time in the world, researchers at the GRAPES-3 muon telescope facility in Ooty have measured the electrical potential, size and height of a thundercloud that passed overhead earlier on December 1, 2014.
- At 1.3 gigavolts (GV), this cloud had 10 times higher potential than the previous record in a cloud.
- Clouds have negative charges along their lower side and positive charges on top and can be several kilometres thick.
- If balloons are used to measure the potential difference between the top and bottom, they will take hours to traverse the distance.
- Unfortunately, thunderstorms last only for about 15-20 minutes, and this method fails.
- Though it was known that thunderstorms had an effect on muon intensity, it had not been probed in detail earlier.
Facts about Threshold of detection:
- Muons and other particles are produced when cosmic rays bombard air particles surrounding the earth.
- The muons produced can have positive or negative charge.
- When a positively charged muon falls through a cloud, it loses energy.
- If its energy falls below 1 giga electron volt (GeV), which is the threshold of detection of the GRAPES-3 muon telescope, it goes undetected.
- On the contrary, a negatively charged muon gains energy when falling through the cloud and gets detected.
- Earlier in 2014, the group studied the variation of muon intensity during 184 thunderstorms.
- In 7 events they came across thunderclouds that corresponded to a large change in muon intensity, of above 0.4%.
- They also simultaneously monitored the profiles of the clouds using four ground-based electric field monitors.
Clue to puzzle:
- Learning about the properties of thunderclouds can be useful in navigation of aircraft and preventing short circuits.
- This serendipitous discovery might provide the means to making headway in this direction.