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Image of the Day: X-rays From Lightning -What Superman would See

831303294 Using a custom-built camera the size of a refrigerator, Florida researchers have made the world’s first crude pictures of X-rays streaming from a stroke of lightning. Seeing X-rays in relation to the lightning “leader,” the initial spark and the channel it makes through the air, should help researchers build better models of the twisty and still unexplained ways that lightning behaves. The images are beyond blurry. They look like near-abstract blotches of white and green, better deciphered when displayed in a series with a rough sketch of the lightning tip superimposed. “You can see the X-ray source descending,” Joseph Dwyer, a physics professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, told a group of lightning specialists gathered Monday in San Francisco. “You start to see the air glow in X-rays.”



Wow nice pic

Oh wow, OK dude that really does make a LOT of sense!

Neat picture, and now I'm fascinated with the question, "How does lightning generate x-rays?" I've got a little bit of knowledge about x-rays, and as far as I know, it goes like this:

1) Generate a lot of electrons
2) Point electrons at really dense metal
3) As electrons whiz past nuclei of the dense metal, their direction of travel is altered by attraction to the nucleus.
4) As the electron's path is altered, it loses a bit of energy, which is given off in the form of x-rays.

This picture looks like there are x-rays coming off the side of the bolt of lightning, but I'm not sure why (since the bolt is passing through air instead of a dense metal). Can anyone explain to me how this happens?

my guess would be the detector could receive from one direction.

Lightning is a plasma and all plasma emit EM energy such as visible light and x-rays.

According to Wikipedia: X-rays have frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz (3 × 10^16 Hz to 3 × 10^19 Hz), they are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma rays. Gamma rays have frequencies above 10 exahertz (10^19 Hz). But just semantics, not sure who is burying you. I will give you a digg up.

Beautiful pictures,thanks for you blogging.keep it up.

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