January 14th, 2013
Episode 323 of 474 episodes
Sure, our atmosphere protects us from a horrible Universe that's trying to kill us, but sometimes it prevents us from learning stuff too. Case in point, the atmosphere blocks highly energetic particles from reaching our detectors. But there's a way astronomers can still detect their influence: Cherenkov Radiation; the cascade of radiation that blasts out as a high-energy particle makes its way through the atmosphere, like a radioactive rainshower.