High energy cosmic rays caused by black holes?

Neat bit of news today:

“370 scientists and engineers from 17 countries in a group known as the Pierre Auger Collaboration say they finally have evidence of a fitting answer [to the question of the origin of the most energetic of cosmic rays]: supermassive black holes that rumble at the hearts of many galaxies, crushing stars and gas out of existence and spewing jets of radiation and subatomic particles into intergalactic space.

Using a new array of cosmic ray detectors known as the Pierre Auger Observatory, which is spread over an area the size of Rhode Island near Malargüe, in the pampas of Argentina, the scientists traced some of the highest-energy cosmic rays back to the vicinities of nearby galaxies bubbling with black hole fireworks, so-called active galaxies.

The work is reported today in the journal Science.

‘The age of cosmic-ray astronomy has arrived,’ said James Cronin, a Nobel-prize winning physicist at the University of Chicago and the co-founder of the Auger observatory.”

Read the rest here.

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...