Cosmic rays

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I've heard of the muons and electrons that constantly hit Earth's surface in cosmic rays coming from extra terrestrial particles that break up in Earth's atmosphere but I was curious what factors played a role in the type of radiation produced from these particles in the atmosphere (i.e. More humid conditions increase the number of muons produced or something of this sort). I know very little about radiation and particle physics so the more info the better. Thanks!
 

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Astronuc
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I've heard of the muons and electrons that constantly hit Earth's surface in cosmic rays coming from extra terrestrial particles that break up in Earth's atmosphere but I was curious what factors played a role in the type of radiation produced from these particles in the atmosphere (i.e. More humid conditions increase the number of muons produced or something of this sort). I know very little about radiation and particle physics so the more info the better. Thanks!
Here are some good links on cosmic rays, which are high energy particles from the sun and other stars. The radiation from other stars is termed Galactic Cosmic Radiation.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/astro/cosmic.html#c2

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/objects/cosmic_rays1.html

http://www.srl.caltech.edu/personnel/dick/cos_encyc.html

The high energy particles, e.g., collide with nuclei in the earth's upper atmosphere. Some collisions will breakup nuclei, but in others reactions, proton-proton collisions will produce pions, and with energies of ~6 GeV and greater, anti-protons can be created. Anti-protons will annihilate with protons to form pions, and the pions decay into muons, which then decay into electrons, neutrinos and anti-neutrinos.

http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/252/particle_creation.html

http://web.mit.edu/lululiu/Public/pixx/not-pixx/muons.pdf
 
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Thanks so much!
 

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