spaceSpace and Physics

Watch Uranium Emit Radiation


Danielle Andrew

Editorial Intern

2708 Watch Uranium Emit Radiation
CloudyLabs YouTube screen grab.

You’ve heard of the catastrophic effects of radiation on environments, animals and humans. A seemingly silent and invisible destroyer, radiation can make whole cities inhabitable for hundreds of years.

But have you ever wondered what radiation actually looks like?


There may be one image that jumps to mind. The Simpsons/FOX

If you’re curious about what it really does look like, the guys and girls over at CloudyLabs have made a video showing a small piece of uranium mineral sitting in a cloud chamber – a sealed glass container cooled to -40°C (-40°F) – topped with a layer of liquid alcohol, in the process of decay and radiation emission.

Cloudylabs cloud chamber

CloudyLabs explains exactly what you're seeing, "most of the vapor condenses on the glass surface creating a mist, but a small fraction of it stays in vapour form above the cold condenser. This creates a layer of unstable saturated vapor which can condense at any moment. When a charged particle crosses this vapor, it can knock electrons off the molecules forming ions. It causes the unstable alcohol vapor to condense around ions left behind by the travelling ionizing particle: the path of the particle in the matter is then revealed by a track composed of thousands droplets of alcohol."

Have a look at the full video here:





spaceSpace and Physics
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