Where do cosmic rays come from?

Cosmic Rays Read more from
Chapter Earth and the Moon

A continuous stream of electrically charged particles flows from the Sun; this flow is called the solar wind. It makes sense that some fraction of cosmic rays originate from the Sun, but the Sun alone cannot account for the total flux of cosmic rays onto Earth’s surface. The source for the rest of these cosmic rays remains mysterious. Distant supernova explosions could account for some of them; another possibility is that many cosmic rays are charged particles that have been accelerated to enormous speeds by interstellar magnetic fields.


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