Cosmic Rays

By Anupum Pant

Cosmic rays aren’t really rays, like rays of light as you would say. Rather, they are a stream of particles like protons travelling at extremely high speeds. Some times their speed can reach almost the speed of light (of course lesser, but almost that much).

Now, if you imagine something travelling at that speed, the kinetic energy that it would carry would come from a totally different physics that deals with everyday objects. And with a proton travelling at almost the speed of light, the kinetic associated would almost be as much as a tennis ball travelling at 100 kilometres per hour.

Millions of these particles pass through you every day. And they can be detected pretty easily with a simple test I mentioned some months ago.

If a tennis ball could move that fast (without destroying itself), the energy that it would have been enough to wipe off the dinosaurs on earth. Or it would have been 10 times the energy produced from the largest nuclear bomb ever exploded.

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