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The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.
Over the last decade, the solar wind has exhibited low densities and magnetic field strengths, representing anomalous states that have never been observed during the space age. As discussed by Schwadron, Blake, et al. (2014, doi.org...), the cycle 23–24 solar activity led to the longest solar minimum in more than 80 years and continued into the “mini” solar maximum of cycle 24. During this weak activity, we observed galactic cosmic ray fluxes that exceeded theERobserved small solar energetic particle events.
Dark Matter May Be Source of Mysterious Cosmic Rays Detected by Scientists
The Space Reporter
June 17, 2014 by Rachelle Flick
A particle detector at the International Space Station identified cosmic rays that are produced by an unknown type of matter. Because of its unfamiliar behavior, scientists are speculating that the rays might be generated by dark matter, a substance that can only be found by observing its gravitational effects. A 600-member Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) team has yet to confirm whether the source of the cosmic rays is dark matter. The AMS particle detector showed the team that two key behaviors suggest dark matter might be the origin: a change in the ratio of positrons, and an energy flux increase. The ratio of positrons in proportion to the total amount of electrons and positrons combined has “changed its behavior from increasing, to becoming energy independent,” said Sam Ting, lead researcher of the AMS team.
“This increase indicates it cannot come from ordinary cosmic ray collisions,” Ting explained to Discovery News via email. Positrons
are antielectrons that are the antiparticle counterpart of an electron.
“We have also measured the positron flux accurately,” he said.
“The flux increases up to 10 billion electron volts of energy, flattens out at up to 35 billion electron volts and then increases again,” Ting said. Dark energy is responsible for accelerating the expansion of the universe. Together with dark matter, the two substances make up 95% of the
Although data taken by the AMS particle detector shows unfamiliar traits of cosmic rays, scientists still do not have the evidence to prove dark matter is generating these rays.
Ting stated that “these two behaviors show that the origin of positrons in the cosmos is quite mysterious,”–however, “it is too early to say they are definitely from dark matter.
“We know something new has happened, but we still do not know the origin,” Ting said. “In a short time, we’ll really be able to resolve the mystery,” he added.
Source: The Space Reporter, June 17, 2014
Below is a graph showing how Stratospheric radiation continues to increase. The graph covers from March 2015 to July 2018.
X-rays that don't come from any known source
NASA-funded sounding rocket solves one cosmic mystery, reveals another
September 26, 2016
Space is filled with types of light we can't see -- from infrared signals released by hot stars and galaxies, to the cosmic microwave background. Some of this invisible light that fills space takes the form of X-rays, the source of which has been hotly contended over the past few decades. A new study confirms some ideas about where these X-rays come from, shedding light on our solar neighborhood's early history. But it also reveals a new mystery -- an entire group of X-rays that don't come from any known source.
However, DXL also measured some high-energy X-rays that couldn't possibly come from the solar wind or the Local Hot Bubble.
"At higher energies, these sources contribute less than a quarter of the X-ray emission," said Youaraj Uprety, lead author on the study and an astrophysicist at University of Miami at the time the research was conducted. "So there's an unknown source of X-rays in this energy range."
Posted on November 19, 2008 by Nancy Atkinson
Cosmic Rays from Mysterious Source Bombarding Earth
Scientists have discovered an unidentified source of high-energy cosmic rays bombarding Earth from space. They say it must be close to the solar system and it could be made of dark matter. “This is a big discovery,” says John Wefel of Louisiana State University and Principal Investigator for ATIC, Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter, a NASA funded balloon-borne instrument high over Antarctica. “It’s the first time we’ve seen a discrete source of accelerated cosmic rays standing out from the general galactic background.”