GRAPES-3 Experiment Unveils a New Cosmic Ray Characteristic at 166 TeV

  • 06 Feb 2024

GRAPES-3 experiment in Ooty recently identified a novel feature in the cosmic-ray proton spectrum at an energy level of 166 TeV, challenging existing cosmic ray models.

Key Points

  • Groundbreaking Discovery: Broad Energy Spectrum: Cosmic ray study spans from 10^8 to 10^20 eV, traditionally described by a single power-law up to the "knee" at 3 PeV, indicating a change in the energy spectrum.
  • Innovative Detection Methods: Dense array of plastic scintillator detectors and a large-area muon detector enable the observation of around eight million cosmic ray shower events, surpassing space-based detectors in precision and scale.
  • Reevaluation Implications: Published in Physical Review Letters, the study suggests a potential reevaluation of the standard cosmic ray model to incorporate the newly observed feature.
  • Role of Ground-based Observatories: The research highlights the vital role of ground-based observatories in expanding the observable spectrum of cosmic rays, contributing to a deeper understanding of the universe's most energetic processes.
  • Galactic Complexities: The discovery signifies a significant leap in cosmic ray research, revealing complexities in cosmic ray production and propagation within our galaxy.
  • Future Theoretical Implications: As the scientific community explores this finding, it may pave the way for novel theories on cosmic ray origins, offering insights into their role in the cosmic ecosystem.