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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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ScienceShot: A Giant Particle Accelerator in the Sky
13 April 2010 7:01 pm
High above your head, a particle accelerator may be forming. Under the right conditions, thunderstorms 40 kilometers above Earth may drive narrow beams of electrons to near light speeds, researchers will report tomorrow at the Royal Astronomical Society meeting in Glasgow, United Kingdom. The recipe for such strange weather: mix lightning with high-energy particles from space called cosmic rays. The cosmic rays knock electrons off of atmospheric air molecules, while the lightning forces the electrons upward along electric fields. These electron beams may only be a small fraction as powerful as those produced by the Large Hadron Collider, but they produce plenty of radio waves that the research team detected after seeing flickering, oddly-shaped lightning bolts called sprites (inset). Eventually, the accelerated electrons become trapped in the Earth's radiation belts, where they can interfere with satellite communications and navigation.