Cosmic Radiation


Cosmic rays or cosmic radiation are fragments of atoms that fall on Earth and that come from the solar system . These rays catch fire at the speed of light and are considered to be responsible for problems with electronics in satellites and other machines.


What is cosmic radiation?

Cosmic radiation is basically subatomic particles that reach the earth from outer space and whose energy is quite high because they can travel at speeds close to those of light.



Cosmic radiation is a type of ionizing radiation that consists of a group of particles that have high energy , mainly it is formed by nuclei of atoms and by particles that are created by the interaction that occurs in the atmosphere . Cosmic radiation primary comes from the space and the sun . Secondary cosmic radiation is the type of cosmic radiation that encompasses particles that are established directly or in cascade reactions.that occur between the primary cosmic radiation and the atmosphere.


Characteristics of cosmic radiation

The main characteristics that we can observe in cosmic radiation are the following:

  • This type of radiation travels through space .
  • There are two types of cosmic radiation: electromagnetic radiation and cosmic rays .
  • It is made up of subatomic particles that come from outer space.
  • They have the ability to travel at the speed of light .
  • Its origin is something that is not yet clear to scientists.
  • They can form cascades of cosmic rays from the primaries with a large amount of energy.


While cosmic rays were discovered in the 1900s , scientists knew that something mysterious was going on since the 1780s . It was when the French physicist Charles – Augustin de Coulomb , observed that a sphere with electric charge suddenly and mysteriously was no longer being charged. At the time, air was thought to be an insulator and not an electrical conductor . However, with more work, scientists discovered that air can conduct electricity if its molecules are charged or ionized .

But where these charged particles came from was a mystery. On August 7, 1912 , physicist Victor Hess flew a high-altitude balloon and discovered three times more ionizing radiation there than on the ground, which meant that the radiation must have come from outer space . But tracing the “origin stories” of cosmic rays took more than a century. In 2013 , the telescope spatial gamma Fermi of NASA published the results of the observation of two remnants of supernova in the Milky Way: IC 433 and W44.

Origin of cosmic radiation

The origin of cosmic radiation is not yet known exactly, but it is considered that during the periods when large solar flares are emitted , the sun emits cosmic rays that have low energy. Supernova explosions are partly responsible for the initial acceleration of cosmic rays because the debris from the explosions are sources of radio . Some scientists consider that its origin is from a constellation located near Centaurus which has an active nucleus.

Components (edit)

Cosmic rays are composed of a series of particle size subatomic that are loaded and are accelerated at speeds close to those of light. We can find as its components the atomic nuclei of practically all the elements that exist in the periodic table . They are mainly composed of hydrogen and helium . Electrons and some antimatter particles can also be found .

Effects edit

There are several effects that cosmic radiation can produce, among them we mention:

  • There is an increase in the number of cardiac arrhythmias and some heart- related problems .
  • Technological and biological systems even of human beings can be affected due to cosmic radiation .
  • Impact on satellite communication systems and collapse of electrical networks .
  • They can cause serious damage to the memories of electronic devices .
  • They can produce an alteration of the weather and climate .

Cosmic radiation background

The cosmic background radiation is the energy that remained as a remnant of the Big Bang and that gave rise to the universe . This prediction was made by the Russian physicist George Gamow and was first detected in 1964 . According to the Big Bang theory, the cosmic background radiation must be the spectrum that characterizes a body that is in thermodynamic equilibrium .


Cosmic radiation is important not only for the different astrophysical studies that also affect the biosphere and space weather . It is of great use in the engineering area mainly at the moment to be able to design space technologies . Many scientists believe that cosmic radiation can help perform the role that sunlight does in places that lack starlight, on wandering planets that are not orbiting any stars . Radioactive particles that are born from cosmic radiation provideenergy to sustain life through radiolysis breaking down chemicals through nuclear radiation.

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