Visual phenomena induced by relativistic carbon ions with and without Cerenkov radiation

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Science  28 Jul 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4353, pp. 341-343
DOI: 10.1126/science.663660


Exposing the human eye to individual carbon ions (6C+) moving at relativistic speeds results in visual phenomena that include point flashes, streaks, and larger diffuse flashes. The diffuse flashes have previously been observed by astronauts in space but not in laboratory experiments with particles of high atomic number and energy. They are observed only when the nucleus moves fast enough to generate Cerenkov radiation.