A rare, extremely energetic cosmic ray has mysterious origins

The “Oh-My-God” particle has a new companion.

In 1991, physicists spotted a particle from space that crashed into Earth with so much energy that it warranted an “OMG!” With 320 quintillion electron volts, or exaelectron volts, it had the kinetic energy of a baseball zipping along at about 100 kilometers per hour.

Now, a new particle of comparable energy has been found, researchers report in the Nov. 24 Science. Detected in 2021 by the Telescope Array experiment near Delta, Utah, the particle had an energy of about 240 exaelectron volts. And mysteriously, scientists are unable to pinpoint any cosmic source for the particle.

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