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Facebook ‘Cosmic Ray’ Hoax Making Its Rounds In Wyoming

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Yet again, Facebook Messenger is being used to spread fear amongst Wyoming residents. This particular message warns of cosmic rays causing cell phone owners serious bodily harm.

The forwarded message reads:

*: URGENT.*

Tonight at 12:30 to 03:30 make sure to turn off the phone, cellular, tablet, etc … and put away from your body.
Singapore television announced the news. Please tell your family and friends. Tonight, 12:30 to 3:30 for our planet will be very high radiation. Cosmic rays will pass close to Earth. So please turn off your cell phone. Do not leave your device close to your body, it can cause you terrible damage. Check Google and NASA BBC News. Send this message to all the people who matter to you. FORWARDED AS RECEIVED

According to the fact-checking website Snopes, not only is this forward false, but some variation of it has been circulating since at least 2014.

Snopes also states:

When astronomers discuss cosmic rays, they are almost always referring to high energy protons from outside our solar system that travel at nearly the speed of light and are thought to be ejected from supernovae, the explosion of stars.

These events would cause no direct health risk to humans on the surface of Earth, and as such that non-existent risk would not be exacerbated by the presence of a cell phone near you. The idea that NASA would send out a warning to that effect is belied by the fact that not a single warning regarding solar activity from 2010 to 2015 provided any guidance on the placement of your cell phone during such an event. Additionally, the three hour window for avoiding your cell phone is nonsensical, given the fact that such events generally disrupt our magnetic field for a longer period of time.

There you have it folks. Please stop forwarding these messages. It generally takes less than 30 seconds to find out they are fiction. Between asking Siri, Cortana or a quick Google search, you can know the truth in an instant.

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