Stellar explosion in Earth's proximity

When the brightness of the star Betelgeuse dropped dramatically a few months ago, some observers suspected an impending supernova—a stellar explosion that could also cause damage on Earth. While Betelgeuse has returned ...

The ALICE TPC is upgraded

"One more centimeter," said the chief technician, while operating the hydraulic jack system on 14 August. The 5-m-diameter, 5-m-long cylindrical detector gently slid into the parking position, 56 meters below the ground in ...

ESA's 'first' satellite: COS-B

This weekend sees the 45th anniversary of the launch of Cos-B, the first satellite to be launched under the banner of the newly created European Space Agency, on 9 August 1975.

Uncovering our solar system's shape

Scientists have developed a new prediction of the shape of the bubble surrounding our solar system using a model developed with data from NASA missions.

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Cosmic ray

Cosmic rays are energetic particles originating from outer space that impinge on Earth's atmosphere. Almost 90% of all the incoming cosmic ray particles are protons, almost 10% are helium nuclei (alpha particles), and slightly under 1% are heavier elements and electrons (beta minus particles). The term ray is a misnomer, as cosmic particles arrive individually, not in the form of a ray or beam of particles.

The variety of particle energies reflects the wide variety of sources. The origins of these particles range from energetic processes on the Sun all the way to as yet unknown events in the farthest reaches of the visible universe. Cosmic rays can have energies of over 1020 eV, far higher than the 1012 to 1013 eV that man-made particle accelerators can produce. (See Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays for a description of the detection of a single particle with an energy of about 50 J, the same as a well-hit tennis ball at 42 m/s [about 94 mph].) There has been interest in investigating cosmic rays of even greater energies.

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