General, Research, Technology

Why can we see strange flashes of light at high radiation levels?

Patients undergoing radiation therapy, oftencomplain of strange flashes of light that appear in front of the eyes during treatment, even when their eyes are closed. According to, this long-standing mystery can be solved due to the fact that the strange effect was first captured on camera. Researchers believe that the origin of outbreaks can be explained by Cherenkov emission, an effect that causes nuclear reactors to glow when they are under water. However, in what way does luminescence arise in the treatment of radiation therapy?

Flashes of light in front of the eyes can be explained by Cherenkov radiation

How do flashes of light appear before eyes during radiation?

When during a flight to the moon an astronaut“Apollo 11” Edwin Aldrin reported that during the flight for a long time I watched strange outbursts of unknown origin, scientists put forward a theory according to which under certain conditions a person can see the smallest highly charged particles passing through the eye. When the situation was repeated with other American astronauts, experts seriously thought about the possibility of light spots resulting from the so-called Cherenkov radiation, in which a charged particle passes through a particular neutral medium at a speed even faster than the speed of light itself.

According to a new study, inside the eyeenough light is produced that can cause unusual visual sensations. When, during radiation therapy, a ray of light passes through a vitreous fluid, which is an intraocular transparent gel, the patient begins to see flashing lights of unknown origin, often negatively affecting the psychoemotional state of a person. Experts believe that the Apollo astronauts could observe similar light phenomena.

Biomedical engineer Irwin Tendler from DartmouthCollege claims that the idea of ​​Cherenkov radiation has already been put forward by scientists along with other hypotheses. In order to find direct evidence of this, a team of scientists decided to use a special image processing system called CDose. The application of the new method allowed specialists to photograph light emanating from the eye, which is usually very difficult to detect.

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Photograph of a flash that appeared in front of the patient's eyes during radiation therapy

Analyzing the spectral composition obtained duringexperiment image, the researchers were able to confirm the theory of the occurrence of Cherenkov radiation, which can help improve future methods of radiation therapy. In particular, the detection of Cherenkov radiation at the time of exposure may indicate that the treatment has reached its intended purpose. Whether light flashes in any way affect the eyesight of patients, specialists have yet to figure out.

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Although theories regarding direct nerve stimulation,scintillation of the lens and ultraweak bioluminescent photons still cannot be ruled out; Cherenkov radiation seems to be the most obvious variant of the occurrence of light flashes at high radiation levels.