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7 Monday, August 19, 2019 14:39

Powerful cosmic rays: Scientists race to explain 'universe's greatest mystery'

The universe harbours an array of extreme entities, from fast radio bursts to supermassive black holes. But scientists consider the most puzzling phenomena to be extremely powerful cosmic rays. Cosmic rays consist of atomic nuclei of elements ranging from hydrogen to iron, that hurtle from unknown origins at ups to 98 percent the speed of light.

Some of these cosmic rays carry so much energy that physicists cannot account for what in the universe could have created them. Related articles
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Ultra-high frequency cosmic rays are coming at us with energies 10 million times higher than particles produced at CERNProfessor Charles JuiAnd because cosmic rays do not travel in a straight line, scientists cannot retrace they originate.This means the answer to the cosmic rays mystery could well involve objects that have never been recorded before.

The University of Utah’s Professor Charles Jui told Express.co.uk why scientists are increasingly fascinated by these cosmic rays.He said: “We are interested in these ultra high frequency cosmic rays because they are coming at us with energies that are 10 million times higher than the particles produced at the Large Hadron Collider.

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Cosmic rays: The powerful and pervasive phenomena are also the universes most fascinating mystery (Image: Getty)
Cosmic rays: Scientist know more about black holes than cosmic rays (Image: Getty/Express)“So somewhere in nature is creating rays 10 million times stronger than what we can achieve on Earth at great expense and using very very large machines.

“Perhaps there is a great source of energy out there which we know nothing about, and may give us some technological help – but that would be very far down along the road.“We really don’t know what makes them and accelerates them.“There are some theories which are plausible, for example, we think the lower energy cosmic rays might come from supernova remnants.

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“The whole subject itself is a hundred year-old mystery that we don’t have an answer to yet.”Professor Jui believes the similarities in extremes between cosmic rays and fast radio bursts (FRBs) mean they could be related.He said: “Anything which is producing as much energy as these fast radio bursts has the potential of having phenomena related.

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News Code: 308102  |  Express
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