Scientists Discover Intensely Powerful Cosmic Ray in Utah Surpassing ‘Oh My God’ Event

New Research Reveals Scientists are Baffled by Mysterious Cosmic Ray

After a powerful cosmic ray was detected by a telescope in Utah, scientists are scrambling to solve the latest outer space puzzle. According to the authors of new research published in the journal Science on Thursday, the telescope spotted the most potent cosmic ray in over three decades.

Believed to have made its way to Earth from beyond the Milky Way galaxy, this puzzling ultra-high-energy particle, named the Amaterasu particle after the sun goddess in Japanese mythology, remains a realistic enigma. While some experts suggest unknown physics as the source, the exact origin of this turbocharged cosmic ray from outer space is still unknown.

According to an article in Nature, the discovery has left scientists in awe, with many pondering the concept of “what could produce such a high energy,” according to Clancy James, an astronomer at Curtin University in Australia.

The detection of cosmic rays with energies of more than 100 exa-electron volts (EeV) is a rare occurrence. As NASA explains, cosmic rays provide a direct sample of matter from outside the solar system as they constantly penetrate Earth’s atmosphere.

Unprecedented Discovery: The Oh-My-God Particle

Named the Oh-My-God particle, one of the most potent cosmic rays was detected over 30 years ago and measured approximately 320 exa-electron volts (EeV) at the time. As Nature states, an EeV is about a million times greater than what can be achieved by the most powerful human-made particle accelerators.

According to the University of Utah, “Nothing in our galaxy had the power to produce it, and the particle had more energy than was theoretically possible for cosmic rays traveling to Earth from other galaxies.”

Discovered on May 27, 2021, the recently detected cosmic ray had an estimated energy of 240 EeV at the Telescope Array in Utah. Toshihiro Fujii, an astronomer at Osaka Metropolitan University in Japan, stumbled upon the “surprising” signals, consistent with those produced by ultra-cosmic rays, during a routine data check at the telescope.

Initially skeptical, Fujii considered the possibility of a software bug or damage to the detectors of the highly energetic particle. The relatively smooth trajectory of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays through space, without interference from galactic or extra-galactic magnetic fields, makes it easier for scientists to identify the source, such as stellar explosions, black holes, or galaxies that generated the energetic spike.

Puzzling Origins of High-Energy Cosmic Rays

The exact origins of these high-energy particles have remained mysterious despite years of research. According to John Matthews, co-spokesperson at the University of Utah and co-author of the study, the trajectory of the Oh-My-God particle and the newly discovered particle leads to no source with sufficient energy to have produced it.

“That’s the mystery of this—what the heck is going on?” Matthews expressed.

John Belz, a professor at the University of Utah and co-author of the study, stated, “It’s not like there’s one mysterious source. It could be defects in the structure of spacetime, colliding cosmic strings. I mean, I’m just spit-balling crazy ideas that people are coming up with because there’s not a conventional explanation.”

Fujii and his team are in the process of upgrading the Telescope Array to be four times as sensitive, enabling them to capture and trace the origins of these rare ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays more precisely.


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