The most powerful particles in the Universe

a cosmic smash

Illustration of an air shower. We recognize the so-called  uores- cence light (UV or bluish), and the generation of light particles named pions (), which rapidly decay into even lighter leptons (e; ; ) and photons ( )

Illustration of an air shower

Wolfgang Bietenholz
This year we are celebrating 101 years since the discovery of cosmic rays.
They are whizzing all around the Universe, and they occur at very different energies, including the highest particle energies that exist. However, theory predicts an abrupt suppression (a “cutoff”) above a specific huge energy.
This is difficult to verify, the measurements are controversial, but it provides a unique opportunity to probe established concepts of physics – like Lorentz Invariance – under extreme conditions.
If the observations will ultimately contradict this “cutoff”, this could require a fundamental pillar of physics to be revised….
Read more: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.1346v1.pdf

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