For more than 100 years, scientists have speculated about the origin of high-energy cosmic rays, a rain of charged particles that bombard Earth from space at close to light speed.
Now a global team of hundreds of researchers says it thinks it has tracked down a source of some of the highest-energy cosmic rays: an unusual galaxy called a blazar about four billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Orion. The findings were unveiled at a news conference that is being streamed live online starting 11 a.m. ET.
The researchers found the culprit by using telescopes around the world to follow the trail of a “ghost particle” called a high-energy neutrino that hit a massive underground detector in Antarctica last September.
Such particles “are really
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