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In search of a source for the 320 EeV Fly's Eye cosmic ray
Elbert, Jerome W.; Sommers, Paul
AA(University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, US), AB(University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 441, no. 1, p. 151-161 (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Background Radiation, Cosmic Rays, Elementary Particles, High Energy Interactions, Intergalactic Media, Interstellar Magnetic Fields, Radiation Sources, Radio Galaxies, Radiation Detectors, Radiation Measuring Instruments
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The 320 EeV air shower detected by the Fly's Eye poses and important problem. Careful analysis of path-length limitations for the possible particle types due to cosmic background radiation verifies that the particle very likely traveled less than 50 Mpc from its source. The best candidates for accelerating particles to such high energies are the very powerful radio galaxies; however, they are all more than 100 Mpc distant. Our search finds no likely source within 50 Mpc in the direction from which the particle arrived. This prompts consideration of less likely astrophysical sources, like M82, as well as nonstandard mechanisms like cosmic string annihilation. It is also conceivable that the air shower was produced by some nonstandard particle whose path length is unlimited because it does not interact with the cosmic background radiation. A less radical alternative is that relatively strong magnetic fields deflected the particle's path through a large angle, so it could have originated at a nearby radio galaxy at an earlier time of strong activity.

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