‘Dark Lightning’ Zaps Airplane Passengers With Gamma Rays, Scientists Say

A thunderstorm over Unna, Germany produces lightning. Image: Wikipedia Commons via CC 2.0.
A thunderstorm over Unna, Germany produces lightning. Image: Wikipedia Commons via CC 2.0.

Scientists at Florida Institute of Technology are working on modeling the behavior “dark lightning”, a type of thunderstorm static discharge that is low in visible light, but plentiful in high-energy gamma radiation.

“Dark lightning” might be occurring at altitudes where commercial airlines travel, but the FIT scientists insist that the amounts of radiation are minute and should not alarm anybody, despite what media headlines might suggest.

‘Dark Lightning’ Zaps Airplane Passengers With Gamma Rays, Scientists Say.

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Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 14. She serves part time as a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which for now is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.