How dangerous are gamma rays?

I googled it and it says "very". But what would happen if we exposed a human being to gamma rays for 30 seconds? Are there any immediate effects... or are they just faster at making cancer?

Side question: Is there some sort of energy in the universe so powerful that a couple seconds of exposure could... idk, burn your skin off, make your brain explode or just cause an instant death?

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  • Derek
    Lv 4
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Gamma rays are, yes, very dangerous. They destroy your cells and can, with a few minuets of exposure, kill you on the spot. Otherwise they will simply accelerate your cell death, dramatically shortening your lifespan and greatly increasing you chances of cancer.

    For your second question, yes, there are many energy bursts that will literally vaporise any living thing, even solid rock. An energy burst out of a black hole, for instance, can burn the entire planet Earth to a cinder from millions of light years away. The forces in space are very powerful.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Gamma Ray Dangers

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    How dangerous are gamma rays?

    I googled it and it says "very". But what would happen if we exposed a human being to gamma rays for 30 seconds? Are there any immediate effects... or are they just faster at making cancer?

    Side question: Is there some sort of energy in the universe so powerful that a couple seconds of...

    Source(s): dangerous gamma rays: https://tr.im/nz6z5
  • 9 years ago

    <QUOTE>what would happen if we exposed a human being to gamma rays for 30 seconds?</QUOTE>

    <QUOTE>Are there any immediate effects...</QUOTE>

    That will depend on the dose absorbed on those 30 seconds. Since there's natural radioactivity all around, you're being dosed by gamma rays as well as other ionizing radiation (alphas, betas) all the time; it's just that the dose is not enough to produce significant biological effects.

    Unless you live or work near a high-exposure location, the dose you receive through your life won't cause visible effects. Astronauts, for example, are considered radiation workers since they spend significant ammounts of time above Earth's atmosphere, therefore they only have the ship's hull to shield them; they have to use dosimeters to measure the dose they take.

    Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma_ray#Units_of_me...

    <QUOTE>or are they just faster at making cancer?</QUOTE>

    Being exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation STATISTICALLY increases the long-term incidence of cancer. You may not get cancer from a brief exposure to gamma rays, but that's pretty much like not getting killed when advancing on an open field when machine guns are going off; you may happen not to get killed, but it's extremely unlikely.

    <QUOTE> Is there some sort of energy in the universe so powerful that a couple seconds of exposure could... idk, burn your skin off, make your brain explode or just cause an instant death?</QUOTE>

    Gamma rays will do that, as long as the flux of radiation is high enough. Victims from atomic bombs near the ground zero suffered extreme skin burns (third degree) from the exposure to gamma rays. Even though alpha and beta rays aren't very penetrating, gamma rays are extremely penetrating and require several inches of shielding (typically lead or concrete) for protection.

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  • The danger depends on the total dosage, which itself depends both on the amount of time exposed to it and the intensity. Generally, the higher the frequency of radiation, the more harmful it is. It's because atoms must absorb a whole photon of radiation at a time. Low energy photons, such as visible light, are absorbed and re-emitted by atoms without disturbing their basic structure. Higher frequencies such as ultraviolet begin to affect chemical bonds. As chemical bonds are destroyed, so are the workings of the cells in our skin. Very high frequency photons, such as x-rays and gamma-rays are like tiny bullets shooting through your body. They have a greater chance of passing through without hitting anything, but when they do they cause damage.

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