cosmic ray

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cosmic ray

n.
A very rapidly moving particle of extraterrestrial origin, especially one that collides with the earth's atmosphere. Cosmic rays are mainly protons and alpha particles but sometimes are other light atomic nuclei and high-energy electrons.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cos′mic ray′


n.
a radiation of high penetrating power originating in outer space and consisting partly of high-energy atomic nuclei.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cosmic ray - highly penetrating ionizing radiation of extraterrestrial origin; consisting chiefly of protons and alpha particles; collision with atmospheric particles results in rays and particles of many kinds
ionizing radiation - high-energy radiation capable of producing ionization in substances through which it passes
cosmic radiation - radiation coming from outside the solar system
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References in periodicals archive ?
The jets might, for example, play a role in the acceleration of so-called anomalous cosmic rays. "We don't know where these particles are accelerated; it's a bit of a puzzle."
At the termination shock, McDonald notes, charged particles are accelerated to 1,000 times their initial energy, creating a group of energetic particles known as anomalous cosmic rays. A detector on Voyager 1 recorded an increase in intensity of these cosmic rays from August 2002 through January 2003, but the spike was nowhere as large as would be expected for a craft within the termination shock region, McDonald notes.
These so-called anomalous cosmic rays are energetic charged particles that strike Earth with only about one-hundredth the energy of cosmic rays from the far reaches of our galaxy or beyond.

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