Iron-ic twist deepens cosmic ray puzzle | Science News

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Iron-ic twist deepens cosmic ray puzzle

Researchers present new findings about the most energetic charged particles in the universe

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5:35pm, June 23, 2009

BLOIS, France — In the genteel surroundings of the Blois chateau, home to 17th century French royalty, a controversial finding about the highest-energy cosmic rays has landed with a thud. If confirmed, a new report could spark a revolution in the way astronomers think about these speedy but rare charged particles, which carry as much oomph as a big league pitcher’s fastball.

Scientists have generally assumed that the most energetic cosmic rays are primarily protons. That’s true even though heavier nuclei such as iron are more easily accelerated to high energi

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