Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

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Richard Hull
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Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:33 pm

Just a pointer for those interested to the files section where I have placed a PDF of a scientific paper. Wow!... if real. picked up by a physicist friend of mine at Naval Research Lab.

Any discussion on this might best take place here in this forum.

Richard Hull
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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by tligon » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:54 pm

Fascinating! Neutrino flux was the first thing that popped in to my mind, but a variation in the fine structure "constant" struck a bell. Wasn't there a paper about a decade ago in which astronomical data were used to show this constant has shifted with time?

This sort of discovery, if proven out, might seem trivial, but could be quite disruptive.

I might be more inclined to count isotope abundance with a mass spec than trust counters for a test like this. I believe that's the preferred method for radiocarbon dating.

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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Mike Beauford » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:00 pm

I saw this blurb on slash dot also, and how strong the correlation was in the data sets. I wonder how much of a ripple effect this is going to have in other areas of research?
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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Wilfried Heil » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:17 pm

The PTB is Germany's National Bureau of Standards and is highly qualified methodically. Purdue University should be well known to some here by its - publicity - in cold fusion and bubble fusion attempts.

They detected a summer/winter variation in some radioactive decay rates of +/- 0.15%, which was measured quite reproducibly. What springs to my mind here, apart from possible asymmetric neutrino fields orbiting the sun, is the repeatable yearly temperature change between summer and winter. Let's stay on the carpet.

Since the PTB is located not far away, I will try to find out more about what they did experimentally.

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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Frank Sanns » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:19 pm

Actually, the most interesting data is the 5 pt PBT data in that report.

The graph shows that the sun is indeed the source of the effect but the distance is not the most important factor. Something in the sun is causing a variation. What is interesting is that the data shows that the effect is twice as prevelent during solar minima and has least effect during solar maxima. Now that is significant. Something extra is happening when the poles are shifting.

I will go on to predict that last year or this year will see another peak that is double the effect since we are presently at or just past the next solar minimum.

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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Chris Bradley » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:32 pm

Indeed fascinating. Just shooting from the hip here, could this be explained by solar x-ray/gamma spectrum (100keV-1MeV range) that makes it down to earth's surface and that then interacts to promote nuclear decay? I would presume that there may then be some degree of polarisation plausibly in that presumption, which would vary by latitude.

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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Carl Willis » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:39 pm

Hi Richard,

Very interesting find. It will also be interesting to watch the developments since you found this while it was only three days old.

I don't know what to say...the correlation is certainly there, and well out of the noise, and the implications are major. Right now the paper is only on Arxiv, meaning it hasn't seen peer review yet. Maybe someone more knowledgeable about these particular measurements will, in the review process, notice some systematic influence that explains these results without implicating an actual change in decay rate. If the effect is real and I had to guess, I would suggest the influence of cosmic rays. If the effect is a systematic error, again I would lay the blame with cosmic rays. Jon R. and I know from low-level neutron counting that muon-induced spallation of lead is a sizeable contribution to the background in lead-shielded neutron detectors. Depending on the materials and configuration then, the experiment could be unwittingly influenced by the increased secondary cosmic ray fluence at perihelion.

Cool.

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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Chris Bradley » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:08 pm

Carl, are you also considering 'secondary' cosmic rays in your thinking then, such that, eg, seasonal ionospheric activity may influence cosmic ray penetration to the earth's surface? There would tend to be a difference between northern and southern hemispheres, in that case.

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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Carl Willis » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:06 pm

Hi Chris,

If the effect is due to cosmic rays then there would certainly be variations linked to all the factors that influence the surface cosmic ray flux.

As an example of the influence of cosmic rays on such an experiment, consider a radioactive source that is carried around in a lead collimator or shield cup. This is then placed periodically next to a Geiger tube or some other detector to take readings. The reading then consists of source counts plus terrestrial background counts plus cosmic background counts. "Background" is collected by doing a count after the source and its shield cup are removed, giving terrestrial background counts at essentially the same level as with the source present, but with fewer cosmic background counts since the spallation source caused by the lead is absent. The effect, once background is subtracted from the source+background count, is that some cosmic counts get associated with the source-only count. I have trouble thinking that a systematic influence this large could have been overlooked, and even if it were I seriously doubt it would be as pronounced as the variation in the present paper. It's a thought.

-Carl
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Re: Paper linking rad decay rate to sun-earth distance?!

Post by Larry Upjohn » Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:46 pm

Hi all;
this old pharmacist sees some questions with the following link from previous threads:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=324#p2402
and this thread. Has anyone attempted to correlate this new data and the rather sporadic claims of success with CANR-LENR. Just a question for the 3 day weekend as I read the nice paper provided by Richard for our perusal. Enjoy the start of fall everyone! Larry Upjohn.
Larry Upjohn

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