Scientists use footprints of atmospheric neutrinos to measure the speed of cosmic rays

An international team of scientists has proposed a way to indirectly measure the rate at which cosmic rays hit the Earth over millions of years. The results of the research are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

In their research, scientists propose using atmospheric neutrinos’ footprints in the so-called “paleo detectors.” These are natural minerals of the Earth, the study of which allows scientists to obtain more data about the Universe.

Every moment cosmic rays bombard the Earth. Most of them are composed of light nuclei and protons. And when these rays pass through the atmosphere, some of them collide with atoms, breaking them apart and leading to neutrinos’ formation. As a result, they “rain down” on the planet. Astrophysicists believe that studying the history of this bombing will provide more data on the sources of cosmic rays. In this new study, scientists speculate that rocks deep beneath the Earth’s surface may contain such “records.” Scientists plan to extract some of this rock and study it.

The team conducted experiments to determine whether traces of collisions of neutrinos with cosmic rays could be found in various types of rocks. Using computer simulations, scientists have found that these tracks are between 50 and 100 micrometers in size. Accurate data on the range of trace sizes will allow you to examine the samples you need. However, researchers warn that mining them will take some effort. Traditional excavation methods can damage specimens.

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