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Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles 144

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the giant-alien-particle-acceleration-experiment dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes For decades, physicists have sought the sources of the most energetic subatomic particles in the universe — cosmic rays that strike the atmosphere with as much energy as well-thrown baseballs. Now, a team working with the Telescope Array, a collection of 507 particle detectors covering 700 square kilometers of desert in Utah, has observed a broad 'hotspot' in the sky in which such cosmic rays seem to originate. Although not definitive, the observation suggests the cosmic rays emanate from a distinct source near our galaxy and not from sources spread all over the universe.
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Physicists Spot Potential Source of 'Oh-My-God' Particles

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:10AM (#47414941) Homepage Journal

    I have an idea backed only by my imagination.

    What if those galaxies are proof of symetry, and they're some of the few that are made of both matter and anti-matter, and the high energy ejections we're seeing are from that collision. Maybe half the galaxies in the sky are made of anti-matter and the non-particle-scale properties of antimatter are otherwise identical to matter.

    • by OakDragon (885217)
      In that case all you have to do is reverse the polarity... Then the universe fills up like a balloon and... something bad happens!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Just whatever you do, do not cross that streams. that would be bad.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?

        • by sabri (584428)
          I have an even better theory.

          It's the Goa'uld, trying to destroy earth by slowly warming it up so we all cook to death.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:59AM (#47415471)

      Collisions between matter and antimatter in space produce a lot of gamma rays of specific energies corresponding to the energy equivalence of the mass of the particles involved (not exclusively at those energies, but a lot there still). This has allowed scientists to characterize collisions between gas clouds and antimatter in areas around our galaxy, but they involve very, very small amounts of antimatter spread out over a large volume.

      As far as the discovery that these high energy particles might be coming from some place close, this was somewhat expected as the GZK limit [wikipedia.org] describes a process of high energy particles interacting with CMB photons to pair produce and lose energy, limiting the energy of high energy cosmic rays that travel a long distance. Unfortunately, that could mean there a lack of new physics involved at the cosmic ray energy, much in the same way that confirming a single Higgs particle is a boring outcome not hinting at post-Standard Model physics.

      • So to bring it around, what does that have to do with this specific observation in the article, because I can't quite bridge that connection in my head.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @01:09PM (#47416735)
          The GZK limit predicts essentially a drag force on particles above a very large energy limit. Cosmic rays above this limit have been seen for some time now. This means either the particles come from somewhere close, before they have a chance to lose a lot of their energy, or they come from somewhere far away and the limit is wrong. Previous data was starting to lean toward the latter, with hotspots matching up with distance sources that match early theories on what could produce such high energy particles. Now those previous results didn't pan out, and these results are pointing more toward the former option, that such particles come from some place close and that the limit may still be valid.
    • by idji (984038)
      because the annihilation particles are all well known and have MUCH less energy than these particles.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:18AM (#47415035) Homepage
    For those of us scientists who hold Christ-gods and sky friends as important in our lives as an empty roll of shit-tickets or takeaway flyers:

    God Particle: the Higgs Boson.
    Oh-My-God Particle: ultra-high-energy cosmic ray (most likely a proton) detected on the evening of 15 October 1991 over Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.

    other particles we find similar to it could be given normal names like UHE particles, or super high energy rays but that doesnt secure grant funding in the theocratic Mormon state of Utah.
    • by bunratty (545641) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:26AM (#47415103)
      Ironically, these particles are named after exclamations. The God Particle was the name of a book originally titled The Goddamn Particle because the Higgs boson was so hard to find. A better name for the Oh-My-God Particle may be the Oh-Shit! Particle. The names have nothing to do with religion.
      • thank you, because here i was thinking the naming of the OMG particle related to sex!

        ed
      • He states that he is a scientist, how dare you try to explain the well known facts to him, a scientist?
        Don't you realize this is science man!
        Take your common sense, reason, and facts and go somewhere where that kind of stuff is tolerated.

      • by stox (131684)

        My favorite particle is still the OopsLeon.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It amazes me that this needs to be pointed out. Using a deity's name in a secular and preferably angry context is one of the fundaments of swearing, by deus.

        • by swillden (191260)

          It amazes me that this needs to be pointed out. Using a deity's name in a secular and preferably angry context is one of the fundaments of swearing, by deus.

          And one that is generally frowned upon by religious people. The names are essentially anti-religious, not religious, in nature.

    • by Herve5 (879674)

      Thanks. Just this, thanks, but sincerely.

    • by swillden (191260)

      other particles we find similar to it could be given normal names like UHE particles, or super high energy rays but that doesnt secure grant funding in the theocratic Mormon state of Utah.

      If the state of Utah is theocratic and makes funding decisions based on particle names, choosing blasphemous ones is not the path to big research bucks. Mormons take the prohibition against taking the name of deity in vain pretty seriously.

    • I prefer the Oh-My-Goddess! [wikipedia.org] particles, OVA version.

  • Reavers (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:23AM (#47415071)

    Running ther reactors without shielding.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      Eating people alive? Where's that get fun?

      • by swillden (191260)

        Eating people alive? Where's that get fun?

        The screams... it's all about the screams. And dinner. Think of it as the psychotic version of dine-in movie theaters.

  • Alien Spacecraft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tonywestonuk (261622) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @10:42AM (#47415263)
    Its aliens who have created an Ion drive capable of accelerating Hydrogen ions to near speed of light.. - Giving an almost limitless supply of thrust. What we are seeing is pollution from the thrusters!
    • by sinij (911942)

      This would imply that they are decelerating on the approaching trajectory.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        This would imply that they are decelerating on the approaching trajectory.

        Or getting as far away from us as they can.

      • by Triklyn (2455072)

        that's an incredibly disturbing thought. thanks for that. not only can they throw beefed up protons at us, they're getting closer.

    • by cjestel (788399)

      Its aliens who have created an Ion drive capable of accelerating Hydrogen ions to near speed of light.. - Giving an almost limitless supply of thrust. What we are seeing is pollution from the thrusters!

      And this is the real reason for global warming :-)

    • by tippe (1136385)

      This post made me remember an old short-story (whose name I've now forgotten) written by Larry Niven. The gist of the story was that some time way in the future when humans had colonized space and things were so peaceful and hunky-dory that they no longer fought wars or weaponized their spaceships, a human spacecraft came upon an alien ship manned by an unknown aggressive and warlike species (the Kzin, maybe), which began to attack them without warning. Despite lacking any weapons with which to defend the

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/0671878794/0671878794___2.htm

  • Valhalla! (Score:4, Funny)

    by jsepeta (412566) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:26AM (#47415699) Homepage

    or perhaps it's from a stargate

  • They have a nice graphic here of the OMG particle hitting the atmosphere.
    http://www.spaceanswers.com/deep-space/what-is-the-omg-particle/

  • ... in the "tiny universe" experimenter's particle accelerator.
  • Hmm... Energetic particles hitting Earth, originating from a single location in the sky... Someone is obviously trying to throw a rock through our window.
    • Nope, it's a targeting laser. We are being painted. The rock will only move at 0.999 C but will be 5 km in diameter.

  • What exactly is a 20 degree radius? One wonders about that article.

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