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Even though the masses of these particles are small, the value of c² compensates for this, thus making the energy of these tiny particles relatively large.
Interestingly enough the most energetic proton detected in the cosmic rays coming in from space had a kinetic energy of 3.0 ´ 1020 eV, about 48.1 J.
This has "enough energy to warm a teaspoon of water by a few degrees” (Halliday) and can be compared to the energy of a golf ball travelling at about 45.8 m/s (164.8 km/hr).
Cosmic rays and the weather
While low-energy cosmic rays such as the solar wind cause ionization in the upper atmosphere, muons cause most of the ionization in the lower atmosphere. When a muon ionizes a gas molecule, it strips away an electron, making that molecule into a positive ion. The electron is soon captured, either by another gas molecule turning it into a negative ion, or it may find an already ionized positive ion and neutralize it (this is called recombination). There is a balance between ionization and recombination, and so there is a fairly constant density of positive and negative ions in the atmosphere. But there is a difference between the types of molecules that become negative ions and the ones that are positive. On average, the negative ions are more "mobile" than the positive ones, and this results in the fact that there is an electric field in atmosphere. On a normal quiet day, this electric field is about 100 Volts per meter. When a thunder shower forms, there is an as yet not completely understood mechanism that tends to lift the negative ions up while pushing the positive ones down. This changes the electric field strength to tens of thousands of Volts/meter. When the field strength becomes too high, a discharge occurs: lightning. Clearly, without ionization, thunder and lightning would not happen, so cosmic rays have a direct influence on the types of weather we can have on earth.
There is also evidence that there is a correlation between cosmic ray flux and low-altitude cloud formation. Now, correlation does not always imply causation, and it is also known that the sun is slightly brighter if it is more active, which may also affect cloud formation on earth. But it is at least possible that cosmic rays could have something to do with it. There is a possible mechanism for this: elevated levels of ionization seem to facilitate the coagulation of such molecules as sulfuric acid (H2SO4) in the atmosphere into tiny droplets, which then form condensation nuclei for water vapor. The condensed droplets of water then form clouds. For further information, see for example:
* Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth's Climate
Originally posted by theresult
reply to post by InfaRedMan
Totaly agree here..
It has not happend and WILL never happen its a gas giant!! it has NOTHING on the sun