Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Electron capture decay of cosmic rays


Cosmic-ray nuclei are close to fully ionized during their passage through the Galaxy. Electron capture decay is rare among these nuclides because most do not have bound electrons. Under certain conditions, specifically low energies and/or high charges, electron capture becomes an essential factor in determining cosmic-ray composition. In this paper we discuss the general nature of electron capture decay in cosmic rays and describe specific measurements which can reveal the existence of electron capture decay, and energy and density-dependent processes in the interstellar medium.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Crawford, H. J.: 1979, Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. of California, Berkeley.

  2. Gould, H. A.: 1984,Phys. Rev. Letters 52, 180.

  3. Letaw, J. R., Silberberg, R., and Tsao, C. H.: 1984,Astrophys. J. Suppl. 56, 369.

  4. McKee, C. F. and Ostriker, J. P.: 1977,Astrophys. J. 218, 148.

  5. Raisbeck, G. M., Comstock, G., Perron, C., and Yiou, F.: 1975,Proc. 15th Int. Cosmic Ray Conf. Münich 2, 560.

  6. Reames, D. V.: 1970,Astrophys. J. 162, 837.

  7. Shapiro, M. M. and Silberberg, R.: 1975,Proc. 15th Int. Cosmic Ray Conf. Münich 2, 538.

  8. Silberberg, R., Tsao, C. H., Letaw, J. R. and Shapiro, M. M.: 1983,Phys. Rev. Letters 51, 1217.

  9. Soutoul, A., Casse, M., and Juliusson, E.: 1978,Astrophys. J. 219, 753.

  10. Webber, W. R.: 1981,Proc. 17th Int. Cosmic Ray Conf. Paris 2, 80.

  11. Wiedenbeck, M. E.: 1983,Proc. 18th Int. Cosmic Ray Conf. Bangalore OG2-8 (late papers).

  12. Wilson, L. W.: 1978, PhD. Thesis, Univ. of California, Berkeley.

  13. Yiou, F. and Raisbeck, G. M.: 1970,Astrophys. J. 7, L129.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Letaw, J.R., Adams, J.H., Silberberg, R. et al. Electron capture decay of cosmic rays. Astrophys Space Sci 114, 365–379 (1985).

Download citation


  • Electron Capture
  • Specific Measurement
  • General Nature
  • High Charge
  • Essential Factor