Muons reveal the whopping voltages inside a thunderstorm

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Muons reveal the whopping voltages inside a thunderstorm

Unread postby Michael Mozina » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:51 pm

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/muo ... understorm
https://journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/9 ... e767ad1286

Using muons, heavier relatives of electrons that constantly rain down on Earth’s surface, scientists probed the insides of a storm in southern India in December 2014. The cloud’s electric potential — the amount of work necessary to move an electron from one part of the cloud to another — reached 1.3 billion volts, the researchers report in a study accepted in Physical Review Letters. That’s 10 times the largest voltage previously found by using balloons to make similar measurements.


It's very interesting IMO that the voltages observed are 1.3 billion which is in the ballpark of Alfven's prediction that the sun operates at around 1 billion volts.
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Re: Muons reveal the whopping voltages inside a thunderstorm

Unread postby Maol » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:29 pm

Perhaps this is a good example of the "observer effect". The current flow through the resistance of a voltmeter reduces the measured voltage. Using a voltmeter with too little resistance, such as an old analog meter that may have only 1000 ohm per volt vs. a digital meter which usually has 10 meg ohm resistance, can damage microcircuits by causing too much current flow.

A balloon measurement device would by its mere presence shunt some current through a very high resistance, thereby reduce the measured voltage across whatever potential was being measured, and would also be limited by the distance between the two measurement points. The muon measurement method is independently observable by its own metric and does not affect the thunderstorm in any unnatural way. The presence of the balloon cannot avoid "observer effect".
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