For years now scientists have been observing strange gamma ray bursts coming from the heart of thunderstorm cells. Until now, there was no firm evidence as to what could be generating this form of radiation, it was thought that it may be coming from normal lighting. Now it appears they may have solved the puzzle. It’s called dark lightning and it’s invisible, since the human eye can’t detect that part of the spectrum (gamma rays). But dark lightning is just as dangerous as visible lightning, but the chances of being struck by it are much more complicated. First of all, you can’t get struck by dark lightning if you’re standing on the ground, you would have to be flying through the heart of the thunderstorm. Even then your chances of being hit by dark lightning are 1 in 1000 strikes. But what would happen if you did get hit by this invisible lighting? Essentially you would glow purple for a time and would receive a lifetime amount of radiation in 1 second. While the strike itself wouldn’t kill you, the resulting radiation poisoning would. Aircraft have always done their best to go around thunderstorm cells, so the risk of actually getting hit is practically non-existent. Therefore if you fly often, you needn’t worry. Regardless, this discovery just goes to show you that even though we have inhabited this planet for millions of years, we are still learning things about it.

If you’d like to learn more about how dark lighting was discovered and the process by which it is created, take a look at this video from NASA:





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