Cosmic rays are a significant form of space weather, and Solar storms are responsible for modulating the radiation. When the Sun's activity is high, the storms and CMEs sweep cosmic rays aside from their Earth-directed pattern. But when it is low, an extra dose reaches our planet. The current heightened cosmic ray intensity is due to a decline in the Solar cycle, as we are heading toward another Solar Minimum. As Solar activity drops significantly over the next couple of years, the cosmic ray intensity will rise correspondingly.
In general, the polar latitudes are most suitable for performing measurements, because the cosmic radiation is concentrated there due to Earth's magnetic field configuration. However, cosmic rays are not only intensifying over the poles right now, but also over lower latitudes, where the magnetic field is stronger and shields against deep space radiation more efficiently. According to the measurements conducted by the Spaceweather.com team, flying back and forth across the continental USA only once, can absorb an amount of ionizing cosmic radiation equivalent to 5 dental X-rays. And, critically, cosmic rays affect mountain climbers, high-altitude drones and astronauts on board the ISS too.
The cosmic ray research of Earth to Sky Calculus is 100% crowd-funded. For more information, visit SpaceWeather.com.
Featured image at top: Cosmic ray intensification trend in the period between February 2015 and January 2016.
Image credit: Spaceweather.com (cosmicrays_mar15_jan16.png)