'Natural Nucleur Accelerators'

19 Aug 2010

At www.physorg.com/print201279930.html there is a report on a paper in Physcial Review Letters with some interesting discoveries, one of which is that high energy cosmic rays were thought to come from remote galaxies that contained huge black holes capable of eating stars and accelerating protons like a bullet shooting out of a gun barrel. These protons, referred to as cosmic rays, travel through space and eventually enter our galaxy - the theory assumes. However, at a cosmic ray observatory in South America it was found that many energetic cosmic rays are not in fact protons, but nuclei - and the higher the energy the greater the nuclei to proton ratio. This was something of a paradox but it has since been discovered that stellar explosions in our own galaxy can accelerate protons and nuclei. While protons are able to leave our galaxy the heavier nuclei are trapped by the magnetic field and linger, so much so that the local density of nuclei is increased. They bombard the earth in greater numbers, they explain, because of their inability to escape as quickly as protons.

When the data first emerged people found it hard to believe - then they started to question the known laws of physics. So, this paper is an attempt to bolster the entrenched opinion - it is claimed it is plausible that stellar explosions were responsible for gamma ray bursts which might transport nuclei at high energy speeds.