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Cosmic Rays

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by

Christian Garcia

on 18 October 2012

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Transcript of Cosmic Rays

A stream of ionizing radiation of extraterrestrial origin, consisting chiefly of protons, alpha particles, and other atomic nuclei but including some high-energy electrons, that enters the atmosphere, collides with atomic nuclei, and produces secondary radiation, principally pions, muons, electrons, and gamma rays. What is a Cosmic Ray? Cosmic Rays include: Galactica rays: coming from outside the solar system
Anomalous Cosmic Rays: coming from the interstellar space at the edge of the heliosphere
Soloar Energetic particles: associated with solar flares and other energetic solar events Fun Facts -The sun sends out one versionof cosmic rays in outburts called solar flares.
-Too much exposure can cause cell damage and gene mutations
-Can also come from Supernova, pulsars, and even from beyond our galaxy as quasours Characteristics Wave Length: <8*10-16 m
Frequency: >1*10^19 Hz Where is this type of radiation located on the electromagnetic spectrum? Cosmic Rays are at the top of the spectrum energy scale What poperties define why it is found within this area of the spectrum? Cosmic Rays have short waves with a high frequency How was this type of radiation discovered? Who are some of the important scientists who have conducted research into this form of radiation? Cosmic rays were discovered in 1912 by Victor Hess, when he found that an electroscope discharged more rapidly as he ascended in a balloon. He attributed this to a source of radiation entering the atmosphere from above, and in 1936 was awarded the Nobel prize for his discovery. For some time it was believed that the radiation was electromagnetic in nature.
From the 1930s to the 1950s, before man-made particle accelerators reached very high energies, cosmic rays served as a source of particles for high energy physics investigations, and led to the discovery of subatomic particles that included the positron and muon. The main focus of cosmic ray research has been directed towards astrophysical investigations of where cosmic rays originate, how they get accelerated to such high velocities, what role they play in the dynamics of the Galaxy, and what their composition tells us about matter from outside the solar system. To measure cosmic rays directly, before they have been slowed down and broken up by the atmosphere, research is carried out by instruments carried on spacecraft and high altitude balloons, using particle detectors similar to those used in nuclear and high energy physics experiments. How can you create this type of radiation on earth? How can you recieve it? Cosmic Rays cant be created on earth because they are sub-atomic particles that are moving at a good fraction of the speed of light. If you slow them down to "collect and store" them, they look just like the matter that makes up you, me, and the rest of the Earth. If you want them moving at high velocities, a particle accelerator can generate many more than you could easily capture and store. Since cosmic rays are pretty much particles that bombard Earth's atmosphere, this type of radiation is often recieved. How is it used or found in our everyday lives or in certain industries? -In the space industry cosmic rays become apart of the everyday life of an astronaut in outer space. One well-known effect is that a higher percentage of astronauts develop cataracts than do people who have not been in space.
-Humans in space also have a somewhat greater risk of developing cancer as a result of being irradiated by cosmic rays.
-Some cosmic radiation does reach the surface of the Earth, and it is possible that people living at very high altitudes have a slightly higher risk of cancer because of this.
-Cosmic radiation also can reach airplane altitudes, and for that reason, female airline personnel who are pregnant are advised to fly low-latitude routes rather than fly polar routes, such as from Los Angeles to Europe. That way they are much-better protected by the Earth's magnetic field.
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