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  • 27 November, 2023

  • 2 Min Read


Recently, astronomers have detected a rare and extremely high-energy particle falling to Earth.

  • It is one of the most powerful cosmic rays slamming into Earth and has been named "Amaterasu" after the Japanese sun goddess.
  • These ultra-high energy particle passes atmosphere smoothly without any deflection by magnetic fields.
  • Spotted by – Telescope Array observatory in Utah, a collaboration of the United States, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Belgium to observe cosmic rays.
  • Energy – It exceeds 240 exa-electron volts (EeV), millions of times more powerful than the particles produced by the Large Hadron Collider, which is the most powerful accelerator ever built.
  • It is 2nd only to the ‘Oh-My-God’ particle, another high-energy cosmic ray at 320 EeV that was detected in 1991.
  • Source – Only the most powerful cosmic events, on scales far exceeding the explosion of a star, are thought to be capable of producing such energetic particles.
  • But Amaterasu appears to have emerged from the Local Void, an empty area of space bordering the Milky Way galaxy.

Cosmic Rays

  • A radiation that is constantly rains down on Earth from space.
  • Properties – They are electrically charged and so deflected by various magnetic fields throughout the galaxy.
  • Detection - The rays don't point directly back to their sources.
  • Composition – They are mainly protons (89%) but also includes nuclei of helium (10%) and heavier nuclei (1%).
  • Impact – When they crash into our atmosphere, they are broken up and fall to Earth in even smaller fragments.
  • Significance – Helps in understanding the chemical evolution of the universe.
  • Reasons for non-detection
    • It could be from a source that we have not yet identified.
    • It might have been magnetically deflected much higher than current models predict.

Scientists might need to rewrite their incomplete understanding of high-energy particle physics


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