I understand the mechanical dynamics of being faced away from the Sun at night, having a lower altitude, not being in the weak points at the poles in the atmosphere, being in a valley and others decreasing cosmic radiation.

Are the particular areas on Earth where cosmic radiation is amplified or unprotected by the magnetosphere because of the lensing effect on cosmic rays either by location or angle of the sun?


You seem to have a good understanding of cosmic rays, but not all of them come from the sun, so there will still be some coming in at night. These will tend to be the most energetic ones emitted from supernovae and other violent cosmic events. You are most at risk on a long distance airliner, which flies at abut 33,000 feet, but the risk is small and nothing to get worried about. For airliner crew it is more serious, but for the vast majority the time spent at 30,000 feet doesn't seriously affect their health, otherwise they'd be getting danger money. If you want to avoid dangerous radiation, the thing to worry about is radon gas. This is emitted by the decay of uranium in granite rocks. Radon is an alpha emitter, and is dangerous when inhaled or ingested. You can find a map on the internet giving radon levels in your area (they are very variable). If you are in a high radon area, put a gas proof covering on your ground floor and make sure your house is well ventilated. In some houses, radioactivity can reach levels which would be unacceptable in a nuclear power station or research establishment. I don't know of any place on Earth which is especially safe from cosmic radiation except, perhaps, a coal mine or a nuclear bunker.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A coal mine might protect you from cosmic radiation, but you can still get several milliSieverts a year from radon gas and other sources down there. $\endgroup$ – HorusKol Aug 8 '19 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ Possibly, but that depends on the proximity of granite or uranium ores. I wasn't advocating that people should live in coal mines to avoid cosmic radiation, and only a nut case would want to. $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Aug 8 '19 at 11:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.