Tag Archives: London

Around the world in 8 days

I’ve flown half way round the world and back during the past week and a half.  I’ve crisscrossed the Arabian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.  I’ve been within spitting distance of the equator and seen the snow-covered landscape of Greenland!

All my raw results are posted below.  You be the scientist.  Can you make any conclusions of your own?  Does changing altitude make much of a difference at the equator?  Does it make a difference over Greenland?  What’s the average dose at 41,000′ down south?  How about up north?  What’s the dosage rate over Europe?

Riyadh to Maldives:

Multi Frame 1

Maldives to Riyadh:

Multi Frame 2

Riyadh to Paris:

Multi Frame 7

London to Detroit:

Multi Frame 3

I’ve flown over Greenland many times, but it’s always either been covered in cloud or too dark to see.  I got lucky on this flight and captured these pictures at high noon.  Notice how long the shadows are, even two months past the winter solstice?  These shots are at 62 degrees North latitude.

Greenland 1-resized

The depth of the snow in the picture above must be thousands of feet deep.  It fills in the valleys completely, leaving the craggy mountain peaks poking out like they were pine trees on an upper mountain slope.

Below is a gigantic glacier, ending in the frozen ocean.

Greenland 2-resized

Detroit to Greenville:

Multi Frame 4

Greenville to London:

Multi Frame 5

How much fuel does it take to fly from South Carolina to London?  About a truck and a half worth!

Fuel-resized

London To Riyadh:

Multi Frame 6

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Radiation Over the North Atlantic

I did my first Atlantic crossing in the Gulfstream IV, a couple days ago.  I can’t tell you how cool it is to be in a jet with such great endurance.  I’ve flown a lot of smaller jets that couldn’t even make it across the US without stopping for go go juice.  So it’s really nice to be in a jet with some LEGS!  The flight was non-stop from Savannah, GA to London.  Flight time was seven and a half hours.

My G-IV

My G-IV

Most airliners fly between 30,000′ and 39,000′.  We were up at 41,000′ getting our silly heads cooked like microwave lasagnas!  That’s good news for my blog, but bad news for my hairline!

NAT3-resized  NAT2-resized

According to the data, above, my accumulated dose of Gamma rays went up from my year’s total of 51.12uSv to 75.39.  My calculator’s telling me that’s an accumulation of 24.27uSv in one day!  And, that’s why aircrew need to have dosimeters.

The average radiation at 41,000′ was 4.0 uSv/hr over the North Atlantic ocean.

The track, above, has a strange gap around New York.  That’s what happens when the detector comes unplugged from the iPad.  It keeps recording the radiation data, faithfully, but it normally gets its GPS coordinates from the iPad.  Without the iPad it defaults to 00 oo’oo” North, 00 00’00″West, which is by Africa, as you can see.  When I realized the detector was not all the way plugged in, I fixed it and made sure it stayed in for the rest of the trip across the pond.

Now, here’s something you need know!  I have just found out that there is more radiation up there than just Gamma rays.  Gamma should be the majority fraction, but I need to get more data about the contributing quantities of the other types of radiation.  The following is a list of the types of ionizing radiation that I’m aware of:

  • Gamma ray
  • X-Ray
  • Alpha (a kind of particle)
  • Beta (another kind of particle)
  • Neutron (the unattached, high-energy kind)
  • Electron (These are, supposedly, a different kind than electrical electrons.  A physicist told me it was too complicated to explain!)
  • Proton (the unattached, high-energy kind)

My next project is to find out what levels of radiation these different types contribute to the whole.  When I figure it out, I’ll let you know!

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