Natural background radiation can be measured using a geiger counter. Some of the high-energy background radiation is known to come from outer space. It has been observed that while taking the background radiation measurements, there are times when there are significant differences which may be caused by bursts of cosmic radiation. The purpose of this project is to gather data regarding the significant differences of the natural background radiation count at various locations on the surface of the Earth. The data will be posted on this website and experimenters may use the posted data to make additional studies into the nature of the significant differences. They may also make arrangements to make observations at specific dates, times, and circumstances.

The Project Director is using an RM-60 Micro-Roentgen Radiation Monitor interfaced with a laptop PC. This instrument is available from Aware Electronics Corp. of Wilmington, DE. The monitor is placed in a FilmShield lead bag(available from Photo supply stores) to keep the radiation count down and from possibly picking up strong radiation sources in the area. This also keeps down the possibilty of particles in the air causing any false readings.

A bargraph of the counts per minute of typical background radiation at a location in Pennsylvania is pictured below. Using the software on a PC computer and and the RM-60 monitor, the bargraph may be observed as it develops or loaded later from the file which is automatically saved.

Using the program, AW-GRAPH, the data from the monitor can be shown in the form of a line graph. This enables large amounts of data to be compressed into one convenient graph. This is shown in the following picture.

The AW-GRAPH program (which is available from Aware Electronics) also can analyze the data and show additional information as in the regression line in the picture below.

A form is provided below for those who want to submit data for use in this project. Because it is very open-ended and unstructured at this time, you may wish to communicate be email with or without attachments. It is recommended that you use the RM-60 (or better) monitor from Aware Electronics unless you have eqiupment that does the equivalent. To detect the cosmic radiation better, more of the geiger tube surface will be exposed if you position the RM-60 in a horizontal position. If you use the RM-60, you can also indicate the average micro-roentgens per hour by dividing the average counts per minute by 1.05. Other geiger counters will have different divisors depending on their sensitivity. However, in this project, the important data is the counts per minute that are statistically above average.

According to the information from the Aware Electronics site, the probability of any of the individual counts per minute being significantly above background can be found by 1) Taking the square root of the background counts per minute to determine the standard deviation, 2) Subtracting the background counts per minute from the the count of the high spike. 3) Then dividing that by the standard deviation to find the deviations above background which can be used with a table of Gaussian or Normal distribution "Areas under the standard Normal Curve" to determine the probability of the high reading being more than a chance variation. For example, if the background count was 13 and one of the individual high spikes were 28, the square root of 13 would be 3.61, the difference of the high count with the background count would be 15, and the deviations above background would be 4.16 which would be very significant (higher than a 99% probability that it was something other than the normal background radiation that caused it).

Adult experimenters may fill in the background count radiation count and other data for your location.


(Do not hit return after any entry)

Observer's Name:


Observer's E-Mail Address:


Address 1:


Address 2:


City, State, ZIP, Country:





Altitude of Observation:


Average Background Radiation Count per minute:


Average micro-roentgens per hour:


Date of Observation:


Starting and Ending Times of Observation (GMT):


Number of Minutes Observed:


Type of Geiger Counter Used:


Describe how you made your observations and note any unusual circumstances and possible sources of error in your observations.

You can contact others who might be interested in this project by going to the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA)

This project concerns anomalies. You can check out a group that makes serious efforts to study anomalies by linking to the Society for Scientific Exploration

You can check out the current background radiation in Pittsburgh by going to the Radiation Levels in Pittsburgh site of Robert Thibadeau.

Find the current background radiation in Longmont, Colorado by going to the Background Radiation in Longmont, CO site which makes use of an RM-60 from Aware Electronics.

From here you can go to THE BACKGROUND RADIATION SURVEY PROJECT on this website.


From here you can go to the main Cybergalaxy of James A. Petrait website.

© 1998-2004, James A. Petrait, Director, Cosmic Radiation Project


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