Cosmic rays are the high-energy radiation that comes from outside our solar system produced by things like supernovae and active galactic nuclei (AGN). They are nothing but protons accelerating through the universe, like blasts of waves of exploding stars. When these electrically-charged particles strike matter, say, the lunar surface, they turn into gamma rays.
Gamma rays travel very fast and are generally deflected when they hit a magnetic field, such as Earth’s magnetosphere. However, the Moon does not have one, thus even the weakest cosmic rays bump into its surface directly. Although the Moon absorbs most of the gamma rays it creates, some manage to escape out into space.
NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has been actively observing our natural satellite for these gamma rays. It recently captured stunning images of the Moon’s gamma rays, that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. The NASA telescope’s findings suggest that if we could really see these gamma rays, we would know that the Moon actually glows brighter than the Sun, at least in terms of gamma radiation.
As for the Sun. it produces most of its energy in other parts of the spectrum and it also happens to emit some gamma rays, especially during solar flares. The Moon’s gamma radiation has been a subject of close study by two researchers at Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Mario Nicola Mazziotta and Francesco Loparco. The duo wrote in a NASA press release that as Moon does not have any means to divert the cosmic radiations and produces fast-moving, electrically-charged protons, it unwittingly becomes a kind of particle detector. Read More...
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