If gamma rays are so penetrating, why can our atmosphere stop them?

  • 2 Replies
  • 2892 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

*

Offline mcjhn

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 23
    • View Profile
if our atmosphere is so good at stopping gamma rays why do we need thick lead/concrete walls in nuclear reactors?

is it because 3km of gas is equivalent to a thick lead/concrete wall?

or not many gamma rays to start with compared to a nuclear reactor?

or something else?

thanks!

mark


*

Offline JP

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 3366
    • View Profile
is it because 3km of gas is equivalent to a thick lead/concrete wall?

or not many gamma rays to start with compared to a nuclear reactor?

Certainly, the atmosphere has as much stopping power to gamma rays as a very thick piece of lead.  Source: NASA (http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/970718.html)

(It's much thicker than 3 km, by the way--roughly 100 km thick). 

*

Offline CreativeEnergy

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 28
    • View Profile
    • Eric's Journal
Of course, if you had a gamma-ray burst (GRB) resulting from the core collapse of an extremely massive star in close proximity to the Earth with one of its bipolar jets aimed directly at the Earth, then it would be an entirely different story. The surface of the Earth would quite literally be sterilized.

But other than that, JP is correct. [;)]
Caelum videre iussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.
"He bid them look at the sky and lift their faces to the stars."

--Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 85-86


newbielink:http://ericfdiaz.wordpress.com/ [nonactive]
newbielink:http://ericfdiaz.webs.com/ [nonactive]