Saturday December 15, 2018
Home Science & Technology Ultra-High En...

Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays Come From Outside The Milky Way

Travelling with a speed of lights, cosmic rays are atomic nuclei. Scientist says that high energy cosmic rays coming from outer space are hitting the earth.

0
//
Cosmic rays
Source: Pixaby
Republish
Reprint

New York, September 24, 2017: Researchers have found that some ultra-high energy cosmic rays that occasionally hit Earth come from a distant source outside the Milky Way.

Cosmic rays are atomic nuclei that travel through space at speeds close to that of light. Low-energy cosmic rays come from the Sun or from our own galaxy, but the origin of the highest-energy particles has been the subject of debate ever since they were first discovered fifty years ago.

Do they come from our Galaxy or from distant extragalactic objects?

The study published in the journal Science demonstrated that those cosmic rays with energies a million times greater than that of the protons accelerated in the Large Hadron Collider – the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator – come from much further away than from our own galaxy.

They were detected from 2004 to 2016 at the largest cosmic ray observatory ever built, the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina.

“We are now considerably closer to solving the mystery of where and how these extraordinary particles are created — a question of great interest to astrophysicists,” said Karl-Heinz Kampert from University of Wuppertal in Germany.

“Our observation provides compelling evidence that the sites of acceleration are outside the Milky Way,” Kampert who is spokesperson for the Auger Collaboration, which involves more than 400 scientists from 18 countries, said.

Cosmic rays are the nuclei of elements from hydrogen to iron. The highest-energy cosmic rays, those of interest in this study, only strike about once per square kilometre per year — equivalent to hitting the area of a soccer field about once per century.

Such rare particles are detectable because they create showers of secondary particles — including electrons, photons and muons – as they interact with the nuclei in the atmosphere.

These cosmic ray showers spread out, sweeping through the atmosphere at the speed of light in a disc-like structure, like a dinner plate but several kilometres in diameter.

ALSO READ: NASA’s Asteroid-chasing Spacecraft Osiris-Rex Swinging by Earth on Way to Space Rock

At the Auger Observatory, the shower particles are detected through the light they produce in several of 1,600 detectors, spread over 3,000 square kilometres of western Argentina and each containing 12 tons of water.

Tracking these arrivals tells scientists the direction from which the cosmic rays came.

After racking up detections of more than 30,000 cosmic particles, the scientists found one section of the sky was producing significantly more than its share.

The probability of this happening by a random fluctuation is extremely small, the scientists said — a chance of about two in ten million.

“This result unequivocally establishes that ultra-high energy cosmic rays are not just random wanderers of our nearby universe,” Paolo Privitera of University of Chicago who heads the US groups participating in the project, said. (IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 NewsGram

Next Story

New Galaxy Has A Smiley Like Structure: NASA

Originally set to last 15 years, Hubble has now been in action making scientific discoveries for more than 28 years.

0
NASA, tissue
Wintertime ice growth in Arctic sea slows long-term decline: NASA. Flcikr

NASA ‘s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a formation of galaxies that looks like a smiling face, said the US space agency.

On Saturday, it posted an image on its Instagram handle that showed two yellow orbs above an arc of light — painting a smiley face in space.

Asking its followers to find the face, NASA explained that using unprecedented resolution of the Hubble’s camera it was able to locate and study regions of star formation.

c
This gyro was turned on after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyro on October 5. Flickr

The arc of light is a galaxy whose shape has been distorted and stretched as a result of passing a massive gravity source, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

“The lower, arc-shaped galaxy has the characteristic shape of a galaxy that has been gravitationally lensed — its light has passed near a massive object en route to us, causing it to become distorted and stretched out of shape,” said NASA.

The smiling face is located in the galaxy cluster SDSS J0952+3434, and was shot with the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

WFIRST, NASA
WFIRST, the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, shown here in an artist’s rendering, will provide astronomers with Hubble-quality images of large swaths of the sky. VOA

The Hubble telescope returned to normal operations on October 26 after successfully recovering a backup gyroscope replacing a failed in October.

Also Read: Hubble Precisely Measures Distance to Globular Star Cluster

Originally set to last 15 years, Hubble has now been in action making scientific discoveries for more than 28 years. (IANS)