Cosmic Rays — Cosmic Rays. Cosmic rays are energetic particles that are found in space and filter through our atmosphere.
Cosmic rays have interested scientists for many different reasons. They come from all directions in space, and the origination of many of these cosmic rays is unknown.
Cosmic rays were originally discovered because of the ionozation they produce in our atmosphere. Cosmic rays also have an extreme energy range of incident particles, which have allowed physicists to study aspects of their field that can not be studied in any other way.
In the past, we have often referred to cosmic rays as “galactic cosmic rays”, because we did not know where they originated. Now scientists have determined that the sun discharges a significant amount of these high-energy particles.
“Solar cosmic rays” (cosmic rays from the sun) originate in the sun’s chromosphere. Most solar cosmic ray events correlate relatively well with solar flares.
Scientists have postulated that cosmic rays can affect the earth by causing changes in weather. Cosmic rays can cause clouds to form in the upper atmosphere, after the particles collide with other atmospheric particles in our troposphere.
The process of a cosmic ray particle colliding with particles in our atmosphere and disintegrating into smaller pions, muons, and the like, is called a cosmic ray shower. These particles can be measured on the Earth’s surface by neutron monitors.