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What would I see if there was a porthole in LHC's detectors?

  1. Aug 5, 2012 #1
    Question out of sheer curiosity: if there was a porthole in one of the LHC's detectors... would I see something? Like ghostly little sparks appearing out of nowhere, or would I be blinded by intense brightness?

    Also, I know the collision chambers are in vaccum, but say I went in there with a spacesuit (with no magnetic materials, as I know there's an intense magnetic field in there) ... would I be fried by radiation?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 5, 2012 #2
    You could see the glow of synchrotron radiation. It will not blindingly because, while significant overall, it is spread over the huge tunnel. Regarding seeing the "flashes" of collisions, I have read a few accounts that back when radiation was not taken seriously, some people would see X-rays (apparently because they ionized their retina); I cannot rule this out.
  4. Aug 7, 2012 #3
    Thank you.
  5. Aug 8, 2012 #4


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    You do not need portholes. The detectors are in air, without any case around them. For example, see http://www.phy.cam.ac.uk/research/hep/heppictures/LHCb_3.jpg [Broken] of LHCb. It was made in 2006, but it still looks like this. You could even stand there while particles collide (assuming you can somehow trick the safety system), but it would be unhealthy due to the radiation. I would expect that you do not see anything just by standing there, or just some rare events of high-energetic particles passing your eyes. Close to the beam (in the beam pipe in vacuum), things are different, with really high radiation levels, synchrotron radiation and so on. The beam could easily burn a hole in anything in its path, but as soon as something moves in the beams are dumped within less than a millisecond.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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