Direct Cosmic Ray Detection: Protons, Nuclei, Electrons and Antimatter

  • Maurizio Spurio
Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)


This chapter refers on the chemical composition of cosmic rays (CRs), i.e., the relative percentage of protons and heavier nuclei in cosmic radiation. Its detailed knowledge up to the highest energies is of crucial importance for the understanding of astrophysical sources of CRs and their propagation in the Galaxy. The chemical composition of CRs can be accurately measured through experiments carried out at a negligible residual atmospheric depth or outside the atmosphere. Here, we deal with the techniques and the experimental results of direct measurements performed with balloons and space missions. These accurately measured the flux and chemical composition of CRs up to about 100 TeV, allowing for the formulation of models around their galactic origin and propagation. One of the key feature derived by these observations is that the CR spectra are well-described by power laws, with similar spectral indices for protons and heavier nuclei, up to energies of ∼ 1015 eV. The CR sources up to these energies should be concentrated near the galactic disk, with a radial distribution similar to that of supernova remnants.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurizio Spurio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics and Astronomy, and INFNUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly

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