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Reaching for cosmic rays

Astronomers use ground-based and orbiting observatories to find the most energetic — and most elusive — particles in the universe.
RELATED TOPICS: COSMIC RAYS
Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS)

Cosmic rays are particles that barrel through space at nearly the speed of light. Sometimes, they barrel right into orbiting observatories designed to study them. Other times, they smash into Earth’s atmosphere, creating cascades of lower-energy particles (air showers) that proceed to smash into scientists’ instruments. Space- and Earth-based observatories do the hard work of spying on these elusive rays, and physicists must decode their data. Here are six places where the major data miners are (or will soon be):

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