National Geographic : 1953 Jan
115 Canadian National Film Board Furs Buy White Man's Clothes for Indian Children in a Hudson's Bay Company Store Pelts taken on trap lines during the subarctic winter are carried to Churchill in spring and traded for a year's supplies at the general store. Operating originally under a charter granted by the British Crown, the Hudson's Bay Company has been trading for furs with Canadian Indians and Eskimos for more than 200 years. One of its first posts, defended by a strong fort, was established near the site which became Churchill. from Minneapolis, Minnesota, on a flight which stayed at high altitudes for 22 hours, using the giant plastic balloons developed by Project Skyhook, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research at the General Mills Aero nautical Research Laboratory. Rays May Wander 10,000 Years During the entire duration of this flight, nearly a full day and night, our instruments registered no change in the number of cosmic rays coming in at high altitudes. Surpris ing as it may seem, the number of incoming rays reaching a given point on the earth is the same at night when that point is turned away from the sun as during the day when it is turned toward it. One might expect that if the rays come from the sun, more would be picked up during daylight hours than at night. We think the explanation is that most cos mic rays coming from the sun are detoured on their way toward the earth by the influence of various magnetic fields which exist all through the solar system and the Milky Way as well. Instead of traveling direct, the cosmic-ray particles are stirred up by these magnetic fields so that they travel in all directions and wander around in interstellar space for even as long as 10,000 years before reaching the earth. Such rays would come in just as fre quently on the dark side of the earth as on the side toward the sun. The most energetic cosmic rays, however, probably come from beyond the sun, from sources scattered throughout the vast reaches of the Milky Way. Unceasingly bombarding every corner of the earth, cosmic rays provide a world-wide proving ground for studying some of the most fundamental laws of Nature. In pursuing their secrets, scientists have learned many lessons in earthly geography. Eventually cosmic rays may help teach us something of the geography of the universe.