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Glossary term: cosmic ray astronomy

Description: Cosmic rays are high energy atomic nuclei or protons that enter the atmosphere from space. These high energy particles collide with atoms and molecules in our own atmosphere, triggering a "shower" of secondary charged particles. Supernovae and active galactic nuclei are thought to be important sources of cosmic rays. Cosmic rays can be observed using methods similar to those used in particle physics, or by looking for flashes of gamma rays that accompany high-speed charged particles moving through the atmosphere.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".