Cosmology

Download A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles From Outer Space by Michael W. Friedlander PDF

By Michael W. Friedlander

ISBN-10: 0674002881

ISBN-13: 9780674002883

Tells the long-running detective tale at the back of the invention and learn of cosmic rays. A topic of his tale is the expertise of detection, for snaring a proton relocating approximately at mild pace is 'no suggest trick."

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Example text

All e-m waves travel with the speed of light, carried by electric and magnetic fields whose strength at every place oscillates very rapidly. If we could momentarily freeze a wave, we would find that it forms an endlessly repeating pattern along which places of maximum field strength are regularly —37— t h e e a rt h ’ s m a g n e t i c i n f l u e n c e spaced one wavelength apart. The fields oscillate many times each second with a well-defined frequency. The general formula for all waves is frquency times wavelength equals speed.

This approach was first used by the Norwegian mathematician Carl Störmer starting in 1903, relatively soon after the electron was discovered. As he described it, his inspiration came when “my colleague Kristian Birkeland showed me some of his very beautiful and striking experiments on the movement of cathode rays in magnetic fields” (The Polar Aurora, preface). 2). The discovery of electrons and the strong correlation between auroral activity and solar activity (such as sunspots) stimulated speculation that auroras might be generated by electrons coming from the sun.

Confirmation of the east-west effect came in 1938 from measurements carried out by Thomas H. Johnson of the Bartol Foundation and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The inference was clear—the majority of primary CR were positively charged. Improvements in the capacity and speed of computers have enabled researchers to explore the calculation of CR paths in detail unimaginable by Störmer and even by Lemaitre and Vallarta, who worked with an early computer that used electric motors and mechanical linkages.

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