Mysterious Cosmic Rays Constantly Bombard Earth from Outer Space
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Although cosmic rays were discovered 100 years ago, their origin remains one of the most enduring mysteries in physics. Now, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a massive detector in Antarctica, is honing in on how the highest energy cosmic rays are produced. "Although we have not discovered where cosmic rays come from, we have taken a major step towards ruling out one of the leading predictions," said IceCube principal investigator and University of Wisconsin--Madison physics professor Francis Halzen. Cosmic rays are electrically charged particles, such as protons, that strike Earth from all directions, with energies up to one hundred million times higher than those created in man-made accelerators. The intense conditions needed to generate such energetic particles have focused physicists' interest on two potential sources: the massive black holes at the centers of active galaxies, and the exploding fireballs observed by astronomers as gamma ray bursts (GRBs). Journal reference: Astrobiology Source: of Cosmic Rays a of Winsconsin-MadisonIceCube Neutrino Observatory explores origin of cosmic more: credit: Scopece - "Space Dance"