November 6, 2022
Particles falling down from space offer 3-D views of the inside of swirling tropical storms.
Researchers have said in the report that the workings of cyclones formed from cosmic rays hitting the Earth's upper atmosphere have been revealed.
"Cosmic rays are a sustainable natural resource," says Hiroyuki Tanaka, a geophysicist at the University of Tokyo.
Those can be used for 24 hours [a day] everywhere on this planet, so it's just a matter of taking advantage of them.
Muons offer a glimpse inside storms because variations in air pressure and density alter the number of particles that make it through a storm.
Counting how many muons arrived at a detector on the ground in Kagoshima, Japan, as the cyclone moved past.
Muons, which are similar to electrons but about 200 times as massive, can scatter molecules in the air.
They are also unstable, meaning they break down into electrons and other particles called neutrinos given enough time.
As air pressure increases, so does its density. That, in turn, increases the likelihood that one arose from a cosmic ray.
A muon will collide on its way toward a detector or be slowed enough that it breaks up before making it through the atmosphere.