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The Question

(Submitted April 18, 2012)

Where do the extrasolar cosmic rays come from?

The Answer

Cosmic rays can come from a variety of sources, but most of the cosmic rays that originate from outside the solar system probably come from supernovae. Since cosmic rays are actual particles, trajectories are bent between when they left their original source and when they arrive on earth, making it difficult to know the exact origin of an individual cosmic ray. There is a lot of exciting studies of cosmic rays going on at NASA, and we invite you to check out the Goddard cosmic ray website: Hope this helps.

Bret & Antara
for Ask an Astrophysicist

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