Scientists have identified the source of an mysterious cosmic ray that was observed in Utah’s high desert back in 2006. The cosmic ray, also known as a high-energy charged particle, was found to have originated from outside of our own Milky Way galaxy. It is the first cosmic ray of its kind to be observed from beyond the Milky Way, and may provide new insight into the nature of cosmic rays and their origin in other galaxies.
The discovery was made by researchers from the University of Utah who analyzed data collected from the University’s Telescope Array WA08 cosmic ray observatory. By studying the properties of the cosmic ray and its track across the night sky, they were able to trace its origin to a distant source in an unknown galaxy outside the Milky Way.
The team found that the cosmic ray carried the signature of a high-energy proton, or a type of ionized atom. This proton then somehow managed to cross the vast intergalactic space between its originating galaxy and ours.
Given the rarity of such particles, the researchers suggest that the source must be an extremely energetic event, such as a flare or massive star explosion, in the distant galaxy.
The findings could provide important clues about the mystery of cosmic rays and their possible origins. Knowing the source of the cosmic ray could help researchers better understand the mechanism driving their production in other galaxies. It could also. help them identify telltale signs or sources for further study from Earth.