You Can Help Investigate Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays

You Can Help Investigate Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays

You can participate in Astrophysics research into high-energy cosmic rays by participating in the CRAYFIS project via your smartphone.

The CRAYFIS project is a collaborative effort by scientists from University of California Irvine, Univ. of Calif. Davis, New York Univ, Yandex School of Data Analysis and others. It aims to get broad participation of smartphone users to install their app to collect data.

The camera of the smartphone is the collector. “The CRAYFIS app operates in a manner similar to a screensaver. When the phone is connected to a power source and the screen goes to sleep, the app begins data-taking. No active participation is required on the part of the user after the initial download and installation.” –

The next part in the Continental Cataclysm Series after Birth of the Earth involves taking a close look at the high-energy cosmic rays that bombard the earth.

The CRAYFIS-related academic paper [Observing Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays with Smartphones] references a particle flux on the ground (Earth’s surface) caused by particles striking Earth’s atmosphere. However, my research indicates that there are many incoming high-energy particles that go straight through the sparsely populated atmosphere to hit the surface directly. The CRAYFIS paper indicates that the particles have so much energy that they are not deflected my Earth’s magnetosphere. Ok, but there is another phenomenon, geo-effective particle showers.

You see, high-energy particles tend to travel in groups referred to as clouds. Each cloud has a macroscopic magnetic field. Depending on the orientation of the poles, the cloud can pass through Earth’s magnetosphere. A NASA scientist, Nicky Fox, published the following regarding coronal mass ejections [CMEs] from the sun, but the same phenomenon happens with inter-galactic and inter-solar-system clouds of high-energy particles.

“When these disturbances arrive at Earth, they do not always have the same effect. The factor in determining how much the Earth will be effected by a CME is the direction of the magnetic field – in particular, the north-south direction, or ‘z’ component. When the z component is positive, this corresponds to a northward field, which has little or no effect on the Earth. When the z component is negative, however, this corresponds to a southward field. When the interplanetary magnetic field is southward, it opposes the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field. In the same way that the different poles of a bar magnet attract (in contrast to like poles repelling), an interaction between the two magnetic fields will occur, allowing the energy from the solar wind to enter the Earth’s protective shield – the magnetosphere.”

When a cloud of high-energy particles has a magnetic field with poles opposite to Earth’s magnetic field, the cloud passes through. In this case, the cloud of particles is said to be “geoeffective.”

According to Doug MacDougall – Nature’s Clocks (2008) – scientists have known about high-energy particles hitting atoms in the atmosphere to produce carbon isotopes since the 1940’s. Carbon-dating is based on this. However, scientists have not paid attention to the possible fusion events that are possible from high-energy particles hitting rocks on the surface of the Earth. More on this later, with the next part of the Series: An Earth Science Scandal.

For now, consider being part of the big particle detector array that is needed to study these ultra-high energy particles. Join the first and only crowd-sourced cosmic ray detector. Observe the energies of incident particles for yourself!

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