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Unidentified object in a cloud chamber
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Jon W Mooney
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Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:20 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Murray Arnow wrote:
.. First the track is produced much too
Quote:
slowly. If it were caused by a KeV particle, the track would seem to
appear instantaneously. Second, the trajectory is a smooth arc. With no
magnetic field present, it is expected that the path of a charged particle
would not be a continuous curve. Third, the path is extremely long which
is not expected from a charged particle that makes such heavy track in a
cloud chamber. Jon, I think you recorded an artifact.

The buttons are actually in the chamber but didn't appear to be creating any
tracks. In subsequent runs, the buttons produced continual tracks. The
video is of a first try, so something wasn't quite right about this
particular setup.

I agree, I think it should be an artifact. The thing that keeps me
wondering though is the appearance of short vapor trails after a 1 second
delay at every point where the artifact changes direction. That's too much
of a coincidence.

No one has yet posted that they too can see these short vapor trails in the
video so we'll either have to try to enhance the video or recreate the
experiment under more controlled conditions.

Thanks for your help!
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Murray Arnow
science forum beginner


Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:22 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

I just spent little more more time than a casual glance at Jon's video. I
am reasonably convinced that what is seen is not caused by a cosmic rays
or any kind of particle emission. First the track is produced much too
slowly. If it were caused by a KeV particle, the track would seem to
appear instantaneously. Second, the trajectory is a smooth arc. With no
magnetic field present, it is expected that the path of a charged particle
would not be a continuous curve. Third, the path is extremely long which
is not expected from a charged particle that makes such heavy track in a
cloud chamber. Jon, I think you recorded an artifact.
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Murray Arnow
science forum beginner


Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:22 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Jon W Mooney <acoustics@jwmooney.com> wrote:
Quote:
Whoops! I forgot to mention the two sources are Am buttons from smoke
alarms mounted in wood blocks. The sources were placed orthogonal to each
other.


That's important. It looks like the buttons are outside the chamber. I
take it that they are smoke-detector buttons. Again, because alphas have
an extremely short range in matter, it is unlikely that any alphas created
external to your chamber would get through the glass. Also, the low-energy
gammas from the source may have a difficulty getting into your chamber.

A better experiment would be putting the buttons inside the chamber and
seeing if the frequency of the cloud trails increase. As your setup now
stands, I still think the trails, if produced by ionizing radiation, are
created by cosmic rays.[1] They would have sufficient energy to produce
charged particles with energies great enough to create trails of the
lengths observed.[2]

[1] I am not familiar with this kind of cloud chamber and not sure if the
conditions inside Jon's chamber are capable of producing tracks left by
ionizing radiation. The chambers I experienced were carefully constructed
to create super-saturated conditions to induce droplet nucleation around
charged particles. But as usual, my experience is dated (by 40 years), and
I don't know about recent cloud-chamber designs.

[2] I am assuming that what Jon sees are indeed tracks in the chamber and
not artifacts. But that is something Jon must verify. I have a lingering
suspicion that those optical flashes aren't related to ionizing radiation.
It would be interesting to know if the same phenomena are observed with
the lights and camera placed in different positions to avoid recording
reflected light, if the placement of the sources is related to the
frequency of the observations, and if the placement of metal shielding
(preferably lead)in various positions around the chamber also affects the
frequency.
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Jon W Mooney
science forum beginner


Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Whoops! I forgot to mention the two sources are Am buttons from smoke
alarms mounted in wood blocks. The sources were placed orthogonal to each
other.

- Jon
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Murray Arnow
science forum beginner


Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

acoustics@jwmooney.com wrote:
Quote:
Murray Arnow wrote:

acoustics wrote:
bz wrote:

[snip]

I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement
on it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white
areas but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video
lose something in translation???



Agreed, it is lousy video. I've compared the uploaded file with the
original and they're exactly the same. I can't spot the glow or alpha
trails when I step through it. I find it easiest to view full screen at
normal speed. Run it through at normal speed a couple of times just to
locate the path of the glow.

Then fix your view on the location at which the glow first changes
direction and run it through a couple of times. About a second after the
glow passes that point, you should see the alpha trail form from that
point toward the
upper left. Once you see that, then move to the next change of direction
to locate that alpha trail and so on and so forth.

Thanks for answering.


Better still, it would be useful to be given a physical description of the
apparatus. First off, why are you sure these are alphas, and second are
you using a magnetic field?

The cloud chamber is a 15 x 8 inch by 9 inch deep aquarium sitting upside
down on top of a 15 x 8 inch 16 gage weldable steel sheet painted flat
black. A black sheet of felt soaked with isopropyl alcohol is held at the
ceiling of the chamber with wooden sticks. There is a weatherstrip around
the periphery of the metal plate / aquarium interface. The assembly sits
in a shallow styrofoam box which holds a slab of dry ice.

I don't know that the trails are alphas.

I didn't intentionally introduce any magnetic field.

Let me know if I can answer anything else.

Thanks!


Without a magnetic field, it is difficult to determine if the trails you
see are caused by charged particles. If the trails you see are caused by
the nucleation of alcohol droplets due to ionizing radiation, then you're
probably seeing cosmic-ray showers. The frequency of your events is much
like that for cosmic rays.

The trails of alphas are very short because they lose energy very quickly
due to inelastic collisions. The trails you see appear to be much too long
to be caused by alphas. Your trails, if caused by cosmic rays, are most
likely beta particles created by the cosmic-ray showers.
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Alf P. Steinbach
science forum beginner


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:41 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

* bz:
Quote:
* Jon W Mooney:

I filmed a peculiar "ghost" in an aquarium cloud chamber that my 17 yo
son built.

The movie is http://www.jwmooney.com/cloud1tcmooney.mpg It is 5.4 Mb

The first few times I viewed it, I thought the glow was a reflection of
my camera in the aquarium glass. There is a reflection of my younger
son's arm at the end of the film.

Then I noticed the alpha trails in the middle of the chamber. Finally,
I noticed that there is at least one alpha trail at every point where
the direction of this thing changes.

I drew a map of what I think I see http://www.jwmooney.com/map.pdf

[snip]

I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement on
it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white areas
but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video lose
something in translation???

I see the "ghost" reflection that Jon mentions -- it's in the first half
of the video. It looks like a reflection of light that's seemingly
moving because of change of viewpoint, i.e., probably not something
within the cloud chamber but rather a stationary light source outside
the chamber. It's virtually undetectable in still frames, but clear as
a moving phenomenon, which I think goes to the show that the human eye
is good at detecting movement -- to do this scientifically it should
probably be detected by machine, but are there video-oriented image
processing programs that can do the same as the eye, compensating for
the camera movement and accentuating frame-to-frame differences?

I don't see any "alpha trails", whatever they could be.

--
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is it such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
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Jon W Mooney
science forum beginner


Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

bz wrote:

[ Mod. note: 70+ quoted lines snipped. Please quote reasonably. -ik ]

Quote:
You, with the camera and other equipment might try taking pictures again
with the camera in the same position, lighting similar, motion the same
but without charging the cloud chamber with vapor. See if similar 'moving
glow' can be observed. I suspect it will proved to be a reflection of the
camera's own 'recording' light.

Thanks for your advice. I will try your suggestions and see what happens.
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Jon W Mooney
science forum beginner


Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Murray Arnow wrote:

Quote:
acoustics wrote:
bz wrote:

[snip]

I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement
on it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white
areas but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video
lose something in translation???



Agreed, it is lousy video. I've compared the uploaded file with the
original and they're exactly the same. I can't spot the glow or alpha
trails when I step through it. I find it easiest to view full screen at
normal speed. Run it through at normal speed a couple of times just to
locate the path of the glow.

Then fix your view on the location at which the glow first changes
direction and run it through a couple of times. About a second after the
glow passes that point, you should see the alpha trail form from that
point toward the
upper left. Once you see that, then move to the next change of direction
to locate that alpha trail and so on and so forth.

Thanks for answering.


Better still, it would be useful to be given a physical description of the
apparatus. First off, why are you sure these are alphas, and second are
you using a magnetic field?

The cloud chamber is a 15 x 8 inch by 9 inch deep aquarium sitting upside
down on top of a 15 x 8 inch 16 gage weldable steel sheet painted flat
black. A black sheet of felt soaked with isopropyl alcohol is held at the
ceiling of the chamber with wooden sticks. There is a weatherstrip around
the periphery of the metal plate / aquarium interface. The assembly sits
in a shallow styrofoam box which holds a slab of dry ice.

I don't know that the trails are alphas.

I didn't intentionally introduce any magnetic field.

Let me know if I can answer anything else.

Thanks!
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Murray Arnow
science forum beginner


Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

acoustics wrote:
Quote:
bz wrote:

[snip]

I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement on
it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white areas
but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video lose
something in translation???



Agreed, it is lousy video. I've compared the uploaded file with the
original and they're exactly the same. I can't spot the glow or alpha
trails when I step through it. I find it easiest to view full screen at
normal speed. Run it through at normal speed a couple of times just to
locate the path of the glow.

Then fix your view on the location at which the glow first changes direction
and run it through a couple of times. About a second after the glow passes
that point, you should see the alpha trail form from that point toward the
upper left. Once you see that, then move to the next change of direction
to locate that alpha trail and so on and so forth.

Thanks for answering.


Better still, it would be useful to be given a physical description of the
apparatus. First off, why are you sure these are alphas, and second are
you using a magnetic field?
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bz
science forum Guru


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 833

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Jon W Mooney <acoustics@jwmooney.com> wrote in
news:92c67$44975dba$42a1c9b1$7991@FUSE.NET:

Quote:
bz wrote:

Jon W Mooney <acoustics@jwmooney.com> wrote in
news:c89b$4493127e$422a8253$20007@FUSE.NET:

Hi all,

I filmed a peculiar "ghost" in an aquarium cloud chamber that my 17 yo
son built.
....

I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement
on it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white
areas but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video
lose something in translation???



- Jon






Agreed, it is lousy video. I've compared the uploaded file with the
original and they're exactly the same. I can't spot the glow or alpha
trails when I step through it. I find it easiest to view full screen at
normal speed. Run it through at normal speed a couple of times just to
locate the path of the glow.

Then fix your view on the location at which the glow first changes
direction and run it through a couple of times. About a second after the
glow passes that point, you should see the alpha trail form from that
point toward the upper left. Once you see that, then move to the next
change of direction to locate that alpha trail and so on and so forth.

Whatever you have captured in the video (and I am not sure it is anything
beside a coincidence of random noise) is very difficult to see. The
movement of the camera makes it difficult to determine if a phenomina might
exist or just be related to the camera motion.

It might be something as simple as a reflection of the 'recording' LED of
the camera off of the 'corner reflector' that the sides of the aquarium
will make.

Science deals with phenomina that can be 'observed, identified and
verified'. In other words, one must be able to reproduce the phenomina and
others must also be able to reproduce it in order for it to be studied.

Certainly a strange observation should be studied to see if it can be
explained and reproduced.

You, with the camera and other equipment might try taking pictures again
with the camera in the same position, lighting similar, motion the same but
without charging the cloud chamber with vapor. See if similar 'moving
glow' can be observed. I suspect it will proved to be a reflection of the
camera's own 'recording' light.

Such discovery is the fun part of science. Good luck.

Quote:

Thanks for answering.











--
bz

please pardon my infinite ignorance, the set-of-things-I-do-not-know is an
infinite set.

bz+spr@ch100-5.chem.lsu.edu remove ch100-5 to avoid spam trap
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Jon W Mooney
science forum beginner


Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:53 am    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

bz wrote:

Quote:
Jon W Mooney <acoustics@jwmooney.com> wrote in
news:c89b$4493127e$422a8253$20007@FUSE.NET:

Hi all,

I filmed a peculiar "ghost" in an aquarium cloud chamber that my 17 yo
son built.

The movie is http://www.jwmooney.com/cloud1tcmooney.mpg It is 5.4 Mb

The first few times I viewed it, I thought the glow was a reflection of
my camera in the aquarium glass. There is a reflection of my younger
son's arm at the end of the film.

Then I noticed the alpha trails in the middle of the chamber. Finally,
I noticed that there is at least one alpha trail at every point where
the direction of this thing changes.

I drew a map of what I think I see http://www.jwmooney.com/map.pdf

Questions we have include...

1) What is this? (I guess that was the obvious one.)
2) What causes the glow? (It's not a condensation trail.)
3) At two locations, there are alpha trails that appear to either end or
change direction at the 'point of collision' with the 'glow.' How did
these alpha particles know when and where to appear and in what
direction to head for a collision?

One thing that I'm not sure of is if this glow is in the infrared. The
camera does have a nightshot feature. I saw the thing on the camera
viewscreen when I was shooting it but neither of the two boys commented
about seeing anything except the alpha trails.

Thanks for your help!


I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement on
it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white areas
but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video lose
something in translation???



- Jon






Agreed, it is lousy video. I've compared the uploaded file with the

original and they're exactly the same. I can't spot the glow or alpha
trails when I step through it. I find it easiest to view full screen at
normal speed. Run it through at normal speed a couple of times just to
locate the path of the glow.

Then fix your view on the location at which the glow first changes direction
and run it through a couple of times. About a second after the glow passes
that point, you should see the alpha trail form from that point toward the
upper left. Once you see that, then move to the next change of direction
to locate that alpha trail and so on and so forth.

Thanks for answering.
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bz
science forum Guru


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 833

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Jon W Mooney <acoustics@jwmooney.com> wrote in
news:c89b$4493127e$422a8253$20007@FUSE.NET:

Quote:
Hi all,

I filmed a peculiar "ghost" in an aquarium cloud chamber that my 17 yo
son built.

The movie is http://www.jwmooney.com/cloud1tcmooney.mpg It is 5.4 Mb

The first few times I viewed it, I thought the glow was a reflection of
my camera in the aquarium glass. There is a reflection of my younger
son's arm at the end of the film.

Then I noticed the alpha trails in the middle of the chamber. Finally,
I noticed that there is at least one alpha trail at every point where
the direction of this thing changes.

I drew a map of what I think I see http://www.jwmooney.com/map.pdf

Questions we have include...

1) What is this? (I guess that was the obvious one.)
2) What causes the glow? (It's not a condensation trail.)
3) At two locations, there are alpha trails that appear to either end or
change direction at the 'point of collision' with the 'glow.' How did
these alpha particles know when and where to appear and in what
direction to head for a collision?

One thing that I'm not sure of is if this glow is in the infrared. The
camera does have a nightshot feature. I saw the thing on the camera
viewscreen when I was shooting it but neither of the two boys commented
about seeing anything except the alpha trails.

Thanks for your help!


I have looked at your video, frame by frame, doing contrast enhancement on
it, and I can't see even your alpha trails (do see some faint white areas
but nothing like I have seen in cloud chambers). Did the video lose
something in translation???


Quote:

- Jon






--
bz

please pardon my infinite ignorance, the set-of-things-I-do-not-know is an
infinite set.

bz+spr@ch100-5.chem.lsu.edu remove ch100-5 to avoid spam trap
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Jon W Mooney
science forum beginner


Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject: Unidentified object in a cloud chamber Reply with quote

Hi all,

I filmed a peculiar "ghost" in an aquarium cloud chamber that my 17 yo son
built.

The movie is http://www.jwmooney.com/cloud1tcmooney.mpg It is 5.4 Mb

The first few times I viewed it, I thought the glow was a reflection of my
camera in the aquarium glass. There is a reflection of my younger son's
arm at the end of the film.

Then I noticed the alpha trails in the middle of the chamber. Finally, I
noticed that there is at least one alpha trail at every point where the
direction of this thing changes.

I drew a map of what I think I see http://www.jwmooney.com/map.pdf

Questions we have include...

1) What is this? (I guess that was the obvious one.)
2) What causes the glow? (It's not a condensation trail.)
3) At two locations, there are alpha trails that appear to either end or
change direction at the 'point of collision' with the 'glow.' How did
these alpha particles know when and where to appear and in what direction
to head for a collision?

One thing that I'm not sure of is if this glow is in the infrared. The
camera does have a nightshot feature. I saw the thing on the camera
viewscreen when I was shooting it but neither of the two boys commented
about seeing anything except the alpha trails.

Thanks for your help!

- Jon
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