Cosmic ray, High-energy particle, mainly originating outside the Solar system.
Cosmic rays are high-energy protons and atomic nuclei that move through space at nearly the speed of light. They originate from the sun, from outside of the solar system in our own galaxy, and from distant galaxies.Cosmic rays were discovered by Victor Hess in 1912 in balloon experiments. Direct measurement of cosmic rays, especially at lower energies, has become possible since the launch of the first satellites in the late 1950s. Particle detectors similar to those used in nuclear and high-energy physics are used on satellites and space probes for research into cosmic rays. Upon impact with the Earth's atmosphere, cosmic rays can produce showers of secondary particles that sometimes reach the surface.
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