Soft error
An invalid operation by logic circuits or memory in an LSI that is unrelated to hardware failure. Occasionally, they are the result of electrical charges from either neutrons from cosmic rays or alpha particles emitted by the breakdown of radioactive materials.
Neutrons are emitted when cosmic rays of protons or other objects enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with the nuclei of elements such as oxygen and nitrogen (the nuclei are composed of multiple protons having an electrical charge and multiple neutrons having no electrical charge).
 Alpha particle
When the radioactive elements uranium or thorium break down, they emit alpha rays, which are helium nuclei. These elements may be found even in high-purity materials.
 Energy spectra of neutrons
Neutrons originating from secondary cosmic rays have an energy spectrum ranging from an order of eV (one electron volt) to an order of GeV (a billion electron volts). In particular, neutrons having energy of 1 MeV (one million electron volts) or higher influence soft errors.
 Subaru telescope
A telescope with an 8.2-meter primary mirror operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan at its Hawaii Observatory. One of the world's leading optical infra-red telescopes, it is located at the top of Mauna Kea (4200 meter altitude) mountain in Hawaii.
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Date: 30 April, 2008
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