The Source of High-Energy Cosmic Rays is No Mystery Anymore

The Source of High-Energy Cosmic Rays is No Mystery Anymore

Scientists still have a lot of mysteries to unravel when it comes to astronomy. The good news is that they never seem to stop the work of looking for answers. While trying to understand where some of the radiation that falls into the Earth’s atmosphere come from, astronomers finally found the answer.

According to, the source of the long-debated high energy cosmic rays has finally been found, thanks to the work of scientists from the University of Nagoya. As a premiere in science, they managed to figure out the number of cosmic rays produced in a supernova remnant.

Watching the supernova remnant RX J1713.7?3946 (RX J1713)

The astronomers obtained relevant data from the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS), which is a VHE gamma-ray observatory. Data from the X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) observatory was also used, and the astronomers also looked at the data from the distribution of gas from the interstellar medium.

The scientists concluded that protons account for 67 ± 8% of cosmic rays and cosmic-ray electrons account for 33 ± 8% – about a 70/30 split.

Emeritus Professor Yasuo Fukui, meaning the lead author of the study, declared as quoted by

This novel method could not have been accomplished without international collaborations. [It] will be applied to more supernova remnants using the next-generation gamma-ray telescope CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) in addition to the existing observatories, which will greatly advance the study of the origin of cosmic rays.

Thanks to the new research, scientists are one significant step closer to understanding exactly the origin of cosmic rays. Such rays were discovered before the First World War in 1912. Plenty of theories emerged trying to explain the origin of the cosmic rays. Astronomers thought that they were produced by the Sun, gamma-ray bursts, quasars, supernovae, and so on.

The new study was published in The Astrophysical Journal.


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