Text: Dmitry Tselikov
The intensity of cosmic radiation has reached this year a 50-year high. According to the NASA satellite Advanced Composition Explorer, in 2009, she is 19% higher than the pre-cosmic era.
Heliosphere and the spacecraft "Ulysses", for 17 years studying the Sun.
Earth this surge does not threaten, but scientists have to think about how to better protect astronauts coming out into open space.
The cause of the phenomenon is solar minimum — a temporary lull in activity lights, which began in 2007. Science has long known that this leads to increased cosmic radiation as high solar activity as it pumps up inside the heliosphere protects the solar system, by entering into it, "rays" to overcome a counter-flow of the solar wind.
External cosmic radiation consists of subatomic particles — mainly protons (although there are also some heavy nuclei), accelerated to nearly the speed of light distant supernova explosions. Reaching the Earth's atmosphere, they cause the flux of secondary particles that can damage satellites.
Scientists of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) expect that in the coming years, the emission intensity by 30% more than in the first half of the XX century. But that's okay: the atmosphere and the Earth's magnetic field are impenetrable shield. By the way, a few centuries ago, the radiation was 200% greater than it is now.
Prior to the launch of satellites to measure the intensity of cosmic radiation directly was impossible. However, experts know that going into the atmosphere, cosmic particle produces beryllium isotope 10Be, which is preserved in polar ice. The study of glaciers has restored chronicle changes in the intensity of radiation at more than a thousand years ago.
Prepared according to Space.com.