Astronomers have discovered where the most powerful cosmic rays


Астрономы выяснили, где рождаются самые мощные космические лучи  Blazerae astronomers call supermassive black holes.

The most powerful cosmic rays in the Universe are generated by the so-called blazare — supermassive black holes in distant galaxies whose “spitting” is aimed directly at the Earth.

Write about the physics in an article published in the journal Science.

“Interestingly, we all believed that blazara unlikely to be the source of cosmic rays, but we now know that in reality it is the opposite. The fact that these black holes emit neutrinos, clearly indicates that they represent the most powerful factory overclocked protons,” says Francis Halzen (Francis Halzen), scientific Director of the IceCube collaboration.

Cosmic rays are particles and nuclei of atoms of different elements, accelerated to near-light speeds. For over a century, they remain one of the main mysteries for science and the sources of danger to the health of the cosmonauts and astronauts.

Today, among scholars there is no consensus about their origin — some astronomers believe that these particles are accelerated in the hot remains of the exploded stars in the milky Way, while others assume that they are the source of the kernel and the gas clouds in distant galaxies.

What is even more interesting, a third group of researchers believes that they are generated by decays of dark matter particles in the center of the Galaxy.

A year ago physics from the Observatory of the Pierre auger found the first hints that all such rays are of extragalactic origin. However, their sources and typical distances to them remained a mystery to scientists.

At the end of September last year, Halzen and his team found the first hints of the source of these mysterious rays, studying data collected by the IceCube neutrino Observatory, built deep in the ice of the South pole of the Earth.

Sunday, 17 September 2017, the IceCube detectors “flashed” neutrinos of ultrahigh energy, whose trajectory pointed to his apparent cosmic origin. Finding such a powerful particle, the scientific team of the Observatory alerted about the discovery of all the other astronomers around the world.

Almost immediately after that point, where did this particle began to follow dozens of ground and space telescopes, including the orbital Observatory “Fermi”, “Hubble” and a number of other probes.

Six days later these efforts were rewarded. “Fermi” found near this area of the sky suspected source of this “intergalactic the alien” blazar TXS 0506+056. It is located in the constellation of Orion and removed from us by approximately 4,33 billion light years.

Blazerae astronomers call the supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies, surrounded by a giant cloud of hot gas.

They gradually eat the matter and throw part of it in the form of narrow beams of plasma, so-called jets. In the case of blazerae the release of “looks” directly on the Ground, which he seems particularly bright and compact.

A few weeks before IceCube “caught” is neutrino TXS 0506+056 suddenly flared and began to glow brightly in the gamma-range and in other parts of the spectrum. According to the authors, this coincidence is not accidental, as the trajectory of the neutrinos and the position of the blazar could accidentally coincide only in one case out of 740.

Moreover, a check of the archives IceCube showed that in late 2014 and early 2015, when the blazar was going through another flurry of activity, its detectors had recorded a few tens of neutrinos coming from the same point.

All this, in the opinion of Halsey and his colleagues, suggests that such black holes may be the main “factory” the most powerful cosmic rays in the Universe. Their study, accordingly, will help us understand what causes these rays and their associated neutrinos, and how they affect the evolution of galaxies and the entire cosmos as a whole.


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