View Full Version : Ep. 72: Cosmic Rays

2008-Jan-21, 07:00 PM
We’re going to return back to a long series of episodes we like to call: Radiation that Will Turn You Into a Superhero. This time we’re going to look at cosmic rays, which everyone knows made the Fantastic Four. These high-energy particles are streaming from the Sun and even intergalactic space, and do a wonderful job of destroying our DNA, giving us radiation sickness, and maybe (hopefully!) turning us into superheroes.http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/astronomycast/~4/220519074

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2008-Feb-05, 10:56 PM
This might be a daft question but hear goes. Is the solar wind a cosmic rays then? Or those protons of the solar wind are flung off the sun via a different mechanism?

Steve Limpus
2008-Feb-07, 04:04 AM
The solar wind is high-energy electrons and protons (about 1 keV).

Some of the cosmic rays are solar (protons, electrons and heavy ions with energy ranging from a few tens of keV to GeV).

The difference is the energy level.



Gotta love Wikipedia.

2008-Feb-24, 11:44 PM
We are not sure of the origin of the most intense cosmic rays, but it likely is not our sun. They easily penetrate our skulls and cause not repairable brain damage. Super hero are unlkely, but long term exposure likely will cause something like dimentia or alzhrimers, even with several meters of regloth for shielding. Neil

Steve Limpus
2008-Feb-27, 09:28 AM
They easily penetrate our skulls and cause not repairable brain damage.

My wife suspects this happened to me once...

2008-Mar-01, 08:15 PM
There is an article in Sky and telescope about ultra-high energy cosmic rays. They discuss the "Oh-My-God" particle detected at Dugway, Utah in 1991. It was likely a proton, and had the kinetic energy of a baseball thrown at 55 mph. The energy was 3.2±0.9x1020electron volts. They posit it came from NGC 5128, 12 million light years away. To an observer on the particle, the flight would have lasted only 20 minutes. After traveling 1 light year, the particle would be only 46 nanometers behind a photon emitted at the same time.