Hardly a day goes by without Earth and space posing mysterious phenomena baffling the human race.
Just this week, scientists studying Earth’s atmosphere made a startling discovery.
Scientists were left dumbfounded when Earth was hit by an extremely powerful cosmic ray with no apparent cause.
The minuscule particle was carrying in excess of 240 exa-electron volts of energy.
But despite this, experts are finding it nigh on impossible to identify the source of the cosmic ray.
“The particles are so high energy, they shouldn’t be affected by galactic and extra-galactic magnetic fields,” University of Utah physicist John Matthews told the press.
“You should be able to point to where they come from in the sky.”
When a cosmic ray hits the Earth’s atmosphere, it collides with other particles.
In turn, it produces a shower of particles, which subsequently fall to Earth.
Observatories then pick up these shows, linking them to cosmic ray collision.
Apparently, it’s the second most powerful ray to hit Earth.
Back in 1991, the mind-blowing ‘Oh-My-God’ particle was detected at a colossal 320 exa-electron volts.
“But in the case of the Oh-My-God particle and this new particle. you trace its trajectory to its source and there’s nothing high energy enough to have produced it,” Matthews explained.
“That’s the mystery of this – what the heck is going on?”
Although scientists have the ability to detect cosmic rays – and have done for over a century – they still don’t fully understand how they can be propagated through the Universe.
The reason being, unlike light, cosmic rays are not made from radiation.
They’re particles – predominantly atomic nuclei – but also sub-nuclear particles, like protons and electrons.
These stream through the Universe at close to the speed of light, however, they have much more power than they should.
Experts believe that cosmic rays are produced in energetic circumstances, such as in supernovas and stellar collisions.
That being said, lower-energy cosmic rays can also be produced by less energetic sources, like stars including the Sun.