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Ultraheavy cosmic‐ray nuclei, those with atomic number over thirty, constitute less than about one in of the relativistic particles that stream through our solar system, yet they promise to lead to a major contribution in our understanding of the complex phenomena of the cosmic‐ray gas that pervades interstellar space. The study of these nuclei should advance our understanding of the sources of cosmic rays as well as of the nature of the physical processes that influence the particles after their acceleration. This work is greatly accelerating with the advent of satellite experiments, such as the Skylab mission pictured in figure 1.
The distribution of the high‐Z nuclei, the youngest elements in the Galaxy, can help us understand the synthesis of matter in exploding stars and its interactions en route to Earth.