primary cosmic ray

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

An atomic particle moving close to the speed of light, with extremely high energy (108–1020 eV). On collision with atoms in the Earth's atmosphere, a primary cosmic ray produces showers of secondary cosmic rays. These secondary particles decay into electrons, positrons, and neutrinos. Deceleration of the electrons and positrons by the atmosphere produces a flash of light which can be observed from the ground with a special telescope, and gives information about the primary cosmic ray.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.