Baffling Extra-Galactic Cosmic Rays’ Origins Soon to be Revealed

 Cosmic Rays Origins Wallpaper

The mystery of extra-galactic rays has eluded some of the brightest minds of many a generation, over the past century. Scientists have yet to definitively pinpoint their exact source. However, using a special observatory located at the South Pole, astronomers finally believe the baffling origins of these extra-galactic rays could soon be revealed.

Cosmic rays are highly charged particles, soaring through space at extreme speeds. These rays are typically dispersed by the magnetosphere of the Earth. However, occasionally, cosmic rays are able to elude the magnetic field and collide with our planet’s atmosphere.

Galactic Cosmic Rays Diagram

Extra-galactic rays are not to be confused with solar cosmic rays, which obviously stem from the sun’s chromosphere and correspond heavily with output, in the form of solar flare events.

Extra-galactic cosmic rays come from every direction of space. When cosmic rays interact with the Earth’s atmosphere they are capable of charging particles within the atmosphere. Such rays are principally composed of high-energy nuclei and positively charged protons; showers of these high energy particles are postulated to cause changes in weather pattern, provoking cloud formation, via direct collision with atmospheric particles in the troposphere.

The term ray is actually highly inaccurate, a legacy that stems from a time when scientists considered these particles to be comprised of electromagnetic radiation, instead.

But, why even bother studying these cosmic rays? Cosmic rays can present a potential threat to electronic equipment, in and around the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to this, these high-energy particles can also harm human-beings, particularly astronauts who are not shielded by the Earth’s atmosphere.

Recent scientific conjecture, during 2009, focused upon massive supernovae as a potential source of galactic rays, based upon evidence collected by the Very Large Telescope, operated in the European Southern Observatory of northern Chile. These studies were later denounced by the Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics (PAMELA), a satellite that was placed in orbit to measure highly energetic particles around the Earth’s magnetosphere. Then, PAMELA’s findings were proven to be false, during 2013, when the Farmi Gamma-ray Space Telescope collected evidence to show that some, but not all, cosmic rays result from the stellar explosions of supernovae.

IceCube Neutrino Telescope Device
The IceCube Neutrino Telescope of the observatory encompasses a total of 86 “strings,” housing over 5,000 Digital Optical Modules, capable of detecting neutrino events.

Scientists working at the University of Delaware performed a series of astrological studies from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, based at the South Pole. Here, they investigated cosmic rays between the range of 1.6 times ten to the power of six giga-electron volts (1.6*106) to ten to the power of nine giga-electron volts (109 GeV). The reason for studying cosmic rays in this region was because scientists considered this to be the energy range where Milky Way cosmic rays transition into extra-galactic cosmic rays.

The findings, which were published in the journal Physical Review D, seem to confirm that supernovae are the most common source of cosmic rays in the Milk Way. Meanwhile, collapsing stars and active galactic nuclei, which lie outside of our galaxy, are alleged to yield the particles of the highest energy.

The astronomers surmise, the more knowledge they are able to glean about the chemical constituents of the cosmic rays, the more likely they are to definitively establish where they first originated. Hopefully, the baffling mystery of these extra-galactic rays will soon be revealed after further tests have been conducted.

By: James Fenner

APS Physics Journal

Science Codex Link

Science Daily

11 Responses to "Baffling Extra-Galactic Cosmic Rays’ Origins Soon to be Revealed"

  1. Jim   September 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    extra-galactic rays <— any chance from another universe?

  2. Pookla   September 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Adding to the list of nags: “Farmi” really should be –Fermi–, and when figures are included, they should be addressed to help the reader understand what is being conveyed. Otherwise it’s just pretty wallpaper. I would hope that the article is meant as a science article and not as infotainment. Accuracy is appreciated and matters in science, and it is a slippery slope to half-baked knowledge. Otherwise ok article.

  3. Michael Valente   September 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Hey James-
    I hope you keep up the good work, knowing that proofreaders will be quick to pounce(like scientists) on any of your boo boos!

    • James Fenner   September 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Hey Michael. Thanks. I don’t mind people pointing out any grammatical issues. Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody needs to learn their own mistakes. Thanks for commenting, I truly appreciate it!

      • Vidkun Quisling   September 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm

        If you think it’s simply a minor proof-reading error, perhaps you have never met an astronomer. They utterly loathe astrology, which they regard (correctly) the worst sort of pseudoscience for buffoons and an insult to their profession. They feel so strongly that they made the National Academy of Sciences jackhammer up the star map at the base of Einstein’s bust in front of the building, which reflected star positions at the time of his birth.

  4. Ben Muniz   September 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    The word “astrological” is incorrectly used in this story, since it is the adjective of astrology: “The study of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs.”

    The correct word to use is “astronomical,” the adjective of astronomy: “The study of objects and matter outside the earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties.”

  5. Vidkun Quisling   September 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I strongly doubt that scientists at the University of Delaware performed a “series of astrological studies.” Did you hire the editor of the comics and crossword puzzle section to write this article ?

    • James Fenner   September 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Vidkun. The physicists from the University of Delaware formed the lead group for the construction of IceTop in the South Pole (as stated in one of my source links), and were assisted by the National Science Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. Bakhtiyar Ruzybayev was the study’s corresponding author, who was also from the University of Delaware. I do like crosswords, however.

      • Bob Maloogaloogaloogaloogalooga   September 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm

        I believe that Vidkun is referring to the use of the word “astrological.” Perhaps “astronomical” was the word you meant to use?

  6. LogicDog   September 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    A curious use of the word “denounced”. It would be more accurate to say the the studies conducted using the Very Large Telescope were “refuted” or “challenged” by the findings of the PAMELA satellite. In turn, PAMELA’s findings were not determined to be “false” (i.e., in error), but were perhaps interpreted incorrectly. The findings of the satellite’s instruments themselves were simply raw data, and raw data is always subject to interpretation. As for conclusively finding the source of “cosmic rays”, perhaps “soon” is a tad optimistic — although optimism is rarely a bad thing. . .

    • James Fenner   September 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Hey LogicDog. Denounced perhaps wasn’t the correct word, I’ll give you that – in scientific circles, I agree there really is no right and wrong data, just the way it is interpreted. Thanks for reading and commenting.


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