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Three types of extreme-energy space particles may have unified origin

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Three types of extreme-energy space particles may have unified origin

This image illustrates the "multi-messenger'' emission from a gigantic reservoir of cosmic rays that are accelerated by powerful jets from a supermassive black hole. Credit: Kanoko Horio

17 October 2018

One of the biggest mysteries in astroparticle physics has been the origins of ultrahighenergy cosmic rays, very high–energy neutrinos, and high-energy gamma rays. A new theoretical model reveals that they all could be shot out into space after cosmic rays are accelerated by powerful jets from supermassive black holes.

“Our model shows a way to understand why these three types of ‘cosmic messenger’ particles have a surprisingly similar amount of power input into the universe, despite the fact that they are observed by space-based and ground-based detectors over ten orders of magnitude in individual particle energy,” said Kohta Murase, assistant professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics.

Ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays are the most energetic particles in the universe, neutrinos are mysterious and ghostly particles that hardly ever interact with matter, and gamma rays have the highest-known electromagnetic energy. The new model reveals that the similar energetics of these cosmic messengers may not be a mere coincidence.

“Combining all information from all different types of cosmic messengers is important for revealing new knowledge about the physics of extreme-energy cosmic particles and a deeper understanding about our universe,” said Murase.

Read the full story at bit.ly/ECOSv2PR2