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Space Science

Antarctic Experiment Finds Puzzling Distribution of Cosmic Rays 119

pitchpipe writes "A puzzling pattern in the cosmic rays bombarding Earth from space has been discovered by an experiment buried deep under the ice of Antarctica. ... It turns out these particles are not arriving uniformly from all directions. The new study detected an overabundance of cosmic rays coming from one part of the sky, and a lack of cosmic rays coming from another." The map of this uneven distribution comes from the IceCube neutrino observatory last mentioned several days ago.
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Antarctic Experiment Finds Puzzling Distribution of Cosmic Rays

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  • Huzzah! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @04:17PM (#33097288)
    It would be great if they'd actually found the center of the universe, in contradiction to all previous theories, since that would allow a hole in relativity that you might be able to squeeze FTL through. At least as far as i understand it some methods of FTL would be non-paradoxical if there was actually a universal reference frame instead of everything being, well, relative.

    Unfortunately i'm sure there's a much more mundane explanation for the phenomenon which they will eventually discover.
  • Re:Huzzah! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @05:52PM (#33097778)

    At least as far as I understand it some methods of FTL would be non-paradoxical if there was actually a universal reference frame instead of everything being, well, relative.

    This universal reference exists and is known by scientists, google for cosmic microwave dipole [google.com].

    Our galaxy is moving at 627 km/s in relation to the microwave background radiation of the universe, which is the nearest direct effect of the Big Bang that we can observe.

  • Re:Here's a thought (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 31, 2010 @09:48PM (#33098912)

    Okay...so Armageddon is this-a-way?

  • by qwerty8ytrewq ( 1726472 ) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @04:21AM (#33099998) Journal
    As far as I can tell from reading the article, this proves that cosmic rays distribution does not follow a truly random pattern as they hit earth. Given that these rays originate from stars/nova/events and these events are not randomly distributed in the universe, why is this a surprise? I can only guess someone has theorised that if the universe is infinitely big, then the cosmic ray distribution should tend towards perfect (infinite) randomness. Can anyone shed light on the theory that this finding is diproving? links? This could also prove that the earth is travelling fast through rays, so it impacts more in the direction it moves, presumably the scientists have allowed for this too....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2010 @06:11AM (#33100264)

    ... that should, of course, be "the _less_ solar activity, the more cosmic rays"

    This is one of the good-fit hypothesises with regards to so-called "global warming". Less active sun = more cosmic rays = more clouds = less heat.

    The warming would then come from the combined effects of the solar cycles in the latter part of the 20th century which were the strongest in recorded history. The difference from currently debunked solar theories is that it's not the TSI (visible solar output) that effects the climate, but the strength of the cosmic ray deflection.

  • Re:Huzzah! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @02:04PM (#33102158)

    Imagine the same problem in a universe with three dimensions that's curved in a fourth dimension and you will understand a bit of what general relativity is all about.

    More like a pseudo-understanding. It's a bad analogy. The fourth dimension is not spatial. It's temporal [wikipedia.org]. It was mathematically convenient to place time on the graph simultaneously. It also happens to reflect what special relativity indicates is the reality: that space and time are not independent. However time is not really the fourth dimension in the way that people usually think of it, in the way that a tesseract [wikipedia.org] is a four dimensional object, an object that can only be correctly measured using 4 spatial dimensions or axes. This is a very common misconception that unfortunately science fiction has not helped. It is more like a convenient graph of 4 different parameters And again it reflects the reality that our naive idea of independent time is an illusion. The bowling ball and marbles on a rubber mat (to represent a solar system) analogy is also flawed because it tends to make us treat time as a spatial axis. While a great deal of special relativity can be understood intuitively, Minkowski space can only really be understood mathematically. All of the analogies are really hopeless. Our brains are simply not currently wired to understand time as a fourth axis, no matter how elegant and beautiful it makes the equations.

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