20 April 2012

Where do cosmic rays come from?

Apparently nobody knows.   This from the BBC:
The particles, known as cosmic rays, can show up with energies a million times higher than the biggest particle accelerators on Earth can produce. Astrophysicists believed that only two sources could make them: supermassive black holes in active galaxies, or so-called gamma ray bursts. A study in Nature has now all but ruled out gamma ray bursts as the cause.
And this from the Reddit thread:
If the SMBH at the center of the galaxy is the source, than we should observe the highest energy cosmic rays coming from that direction. We don't. They come roughly equally from every direction... Here's the really crazy part. Outside of a gamma-ray burst or a supermassive black hole, we know of nothing that can produce protons at that speed. Yet, they seem to be coming from all around us. Because of interactions with background radiation, there is an upper limit to how far away such a high energy proton could come from: and it is within our own galaxy.


  1. This is the kinda stuff we shouldn't be surprised about when scientists don't know what makes up something like 95% of our universe (not to mention the multiverse). Imagine hiring a mover who can't move over 90% of your stuff...

  2. Two things...

    1. This is REALLY cool. I hope we approach a greater understanding of this in my lifetime.

    2. Firefox 3.6.x doesn't show the comment box any more, but Chrome does.

    1. If you're using Firefox 3.6, I'm not surprised you're having problems. I'm writing and browsing with Firefox 11.0.

      Upgrades are free (and easy).


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