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They may be also used to measure other attributes, such as momentum, spin, and charge of the particles.
Different types of radiation detectors exist; gaseous ionization detectors, semiconductor detectors, and scintillation detectors are the most common.
Most of these sources have been decreasing, due to radioactive decay since the formation of the earth, because there is no significant source of replacement.
Because of this, the present activity on Earth from uranium-238 is only half as much as it originally was because of its 4.5-billion-year half-life.
In these areas it can represent a significant health hazard.
From these sources it can be inhaled and ingested into the body.This radiation primarily consists of positively charged ions ranging from protons to iron and larger nuclei derived from sources outside of our solar system.This radiation interacts with atoms in the atmosphere to create an air shower of secondary radiation, including x-rays, muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons, and neutrons.This is four times more than the worldwide average artificial radiation exposure, which in the year 2008 amounted to about 0.6 m Sv per year.In some wealthier countries, such as the US and Japan, artificial exposure is, on average, greater than the natural exposure, due to greater access to medical imaging.