How fast do particles travel in space? (Intermediate)

I was wondering if you could tell me how fast particles in space travel?

The speed of particles depends on the process responsible for the flow of particles in space. Particles in the solar wind travel at around 400 km/s even though the speeds may vary from as high as 800 km/s to as low as 300 km/s. Particles in supernova blast waves travel at very high speeds, typically a few thousand km/s. There are other particles like neutrinos which travel essentially at the speed of light. Also, particles that constitute cosmic rays travel very close to the speed of light.

This page was last updated June 27, 2015.

About the Author

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep built a new receiver for the Arecibo radio telescope that works between 6 and 8 GHz. He studies 6.7 GHz methanol masers in our Galaxy. These masers occur at sites where massive stars are being born. He got his Ph.D from Cornell in January 2007 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Insitute for Radio Astronomy in Germany. After that, he worked at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii as the Submillimeter Postdoctoral Fellow. Jagadheep is currently at the Indian Institute of Space Scence and Technology.

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