National Geographic : 1957 Apr
Do solar flares produce cosmic rays? Infrequent detection of bursts of cosmic rays during large flares five times in 15 years-might seem to indicate otherwise. But, as Dr. Friedman says, "Cosmic rays are like bullets, and our earth is a small target. They either hit us or they don't, but the X rays that accom pany them spread in all directions." Thus the occasional recording of great cosmic-ray surges when the sun flares, coupled with the fact that X rays always accompany our best efforts to produce cosmic ra diation in laboratories, suggest that flares may be responsible for both. Rockets May Find Powerful Rays Dr. Friedman believes this to be true. He expects that his rockets will continue to find even stronger X rays as they continue to probe the secrets of flares during the forthcoming IGY. Of course, it may be that billions of stars in our galaxy, of which the sun is but one, emit cosmic rays. Perhaps all space, the limitless uni verse, is crisscrossed by these mys terious particles. The earth wears a shield of mag netic force as well as of air, and together these deflect or stop many of the weaker cosmic rays from entering the atmosphere. But near the poles of the earth's magnetic fields, where the lines of magnetic force dip steeply, even the weaker cosmic rays reach the lower air. This explains why cosmic-ray scientists do much of their work in high latitudes. And it explains, 569 I' S. Navy. Official Rockoon Climbs into the Clouds Colonial's scientists hoped to measure X rays and ultraviolet radiation in the ionosphere during a solar flare. They took the problem to sea because busy rocket ranges on land could not be tied up to await sun flares, which occur at unpredict able intervals. Balloon rockets launched from a ship off the California coast gath ered the desired information. Just launched, this Rockoon drifts at 15 knots. Radar targets hang beneath the bag.