You are here

Observation of a large-scale anisotropy in the arrival directions of cosmic rays above 8 × 1018 eV

A.Aab et al.1,J.Blažek2, M.Boháčová2, J.Chudoba2, J.Ebr2, J.Juryšek2, D.Mandát2, M.Palatka2, M.Pech2, M.Prouza2, J.Řídký2, P.Schovánek2, P.Trávníček2, J.Vícha2

Cosmic rays are high-energy particles arriving from space; some have energies far beyond those that human-made particle accelerators can achieve. The sources of higher-energy cosmic rays remain under debate, although we know that lower-energy cosmic rays come from the solar wind. The Pierre Auger Collaboration reports the observation of thousands of cosmic rays with ultrahigh energies of several exa–electron volts (about a Joule per particle), arriving in a slightly dipolar distribution (see the Perspective by Gallagher and Halzen). The direction of the rays indicates that the particles originated in other galaxies and not from nearby sources within our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Map showing the fluxes of particles in equatorial coordinates

Sky map in equatorial coordinates, using a Hammer projection, showing the cosmic-ray flux above 8 EeV smoothed with a 45° top-hat function. The galactic center is marked with an asterisk; the galactic plane is shown by a dashed line.

1The Pierre Auger Collaboration
2Institute of Physics, Czech Academy of Sciences, Na Slovance 1992/2, 1822 Prague, Czech Republic.