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Amaterasu: The Cosmic Phenomenon

Context:

Scientists recently detected the most powerful cosmic ray seen in more than three decades, which has been named ‘Amaterasu’.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Amaterasu: The Cosmic Phenomenon
  2. Cosmic Rays: Celestial Messengers of Energy

Amaterasu: The Cosmic Phenomenon

  • Overview: Named after the Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu is among the highest-energy cosmic rays ever recorded.
  • Energy Magnitude: Exceeds 240 exa-electron volts (EeV), a scale millions of times greater than particles generated in the Large Hadron Collider.
  • Comparison: Second only to the Oh-My-God particle, another ultra-high-energy cosmic ray detected in 1991 at 320 EeV.
  • Extraordinary Energy: Equivalent to the energy of a golf ball traveling at 95 mph, signifying its remarkable cosmic force.
  • Emergence: Originates from the Local Void, an expansive, nearly empty region bordering the Milky Way galaxy.

Cosmic Rays: Celestial Messengers of Energy

  • Origins: Cosmic rays result from violent celestial events that strip matter of subatomic structures, propelling it through the universe at nearly light speed.
  • Particle Diversity: Comprising charged particles, cosmic rays encompass positive protons, negative electrons, and entire atomic nuclei.
  • Continuous Earth Impact: Constantly raining down on Earth, cosmic rays strike its upper atmosphere, colliding with oxygen and nitrogen nuclei, generating numerous secondary particles.
  • Atmospheric Impact: Secondary particles travel a short distance within the atmosphere, initiating a cascade effect, creating a shower of billions of particles that disperse to the Earth’s surface.

-Source: Indian Express


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