6 de mayo de 2010


Cosmic rays may broadly be divided into two categories, primary and secondary. The cosmic rays that arise in extrasolar astrophysical sources are primary cosmic rays; these primary cosmic rays can interact with interstellar matter to create secondary cosmic rays. The sun also emits low energy cosmic rays associated with solar flares. The exact composition of primary cosmic rays, outside the Earth's atmosphere, is dependent on which part of the energy spectrum is observed. However, in general, almost 90% of all the incoming cosmic rays are protons, about 9% are helium nuclei (alpha particles) and nearly 1% are electrons. The ratio of hydrogen to helium nuclei (28% helium by mass) is about the same as the primordialelemental abundance ratio of these elements (24% by mass He) in the universe.