The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) from Geneva (Switzerland) and operated by CERN is one of humanity’s most exciting inventions. But even so, it pales by comparison with another structure that has pretty much the same mission: accelerating particles near to the speed of light.
The newfound particle accelerator is also a giant molecular cloud that plays with cosmic rays. And while cosmic rays can easily be considered particles, there you have a particle accelerator of extraterrestrial origin. More precisely, those hasty rays are none other than electrons, protons, or even ions of heavy elements.
High-energy cosmic rays shooting throughout the Milky Way intrigued scientists
Astrophysicists and other scientists were puzzled by the high-energy cosmic rays that hurtle through our cosmic vicinity close to the highest speed possible: the speed of light. According to Space.com, new research done by gathering data from the High Altitude Water Cherenkov Experiment (HAWC) observatory is revealing a giant molecular cloud as the possible source of those cosmic rays. The source was named as HAWC J1825-134, and it’s located in the direction of the Milky Way’s galactic centre. The newfound structure is over a thousand times more powerful than the best particle accelerators we have on Earth.
The researchers pointed HAWC towards the sky with tanks filled with extremely pure water. As soon as radiation or high-energy particles enter the tanks, they emit blue light and allow astronomers to trace back the source.
It is probable that detecting particles that surpass the speed of light could be another challenge in science, but that would violate Einstein’s claim. However, the renowned physicist was referring to the speed of an object through space when he said that it cannot surpass the speed of light. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that it’s at least theoretically possible for an object to surpass the speed of light while it’s located in another universe or beyond the boundaries of our own portion of spacetime.
The new study was detailed in a paper that appeared in the preprint journal arXiv.