Open Questions: High-Energy Cosmic Rays

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Introduction

Microscopic black holes


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Open Directory Project: Cosmic Rays
Categorized and annotated links. A version of this list is at Google, with entries sorted in "page rank" order.
Galaxy: Cosmic Rays
Categorized site directory. Entries usually include descriptive annotations.


Sites with general resources

Cosmic and Heliospheric Learning Center: Cosmic Rays
NASA site dealing with cosmic rays in general.
Pierre Auger Observatory
"An international facility to study the highest energy cosmic rays." The Web site of this research facility includes questions and answers about cosmic rays, background information, and external links (mostly to related research sites).
High Resolution Fly's Eye
"The goal of the High Resolution Fly's Eye (HiRes) Experiment ... is to measure the energy spectrum, the arrival direction, and the composition of cosmic rays above 1018 eV." Information provided by research team at Columbia University.
High Resolution Fly's Eye
"The High Resolution Fly's Eye (HiRes) is an experiment to study the highest energy cosmic rays to determine the energy, direction, and chemical composition of the incident particle." Information provided by research team in Utah.
AGASA (Akeno Giant Air Shower Array)
Information about a cosmic-ray research facility operated by the University of Tokyo. Includes descriptions of results and list of publications.


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Cosmic ray
Article from Wikipedia. See also Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin limit.
Cosmic Rays: Introduction
Basic information on cosmic rays. Part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site. There is also a more advanced level page on this topic.
Cosmic Rays
Single page presenting a general introduction to the field of cosmic rays, as of 1996, by R. A. Mewaldt.
Ask a High-Energy Astronomer: Cosmic Rays
Common questions, with answers, provided by NASA's Ask a High-Energy Astronomer service.
Could the end be in sight for ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays?
September 2002 article from Physics World, by Subir Sarkar. "Recent observations may indicate a cut-off in the spectrum of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, which would imply that they originate from cosmologically distant sources."
AMS hints at cosmic-ray mystery
June 1999 news article from Physics World about a result from observations using the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the Space Shuttle that indicate no change in number of low-energy protons in cosmic rays due to lattitude changes in the strength of Earth's magnetic field.
New observatory to solve cosmic puzzle
April 1999 news article from Physics World about finalization of plans to build a observatory to detect the most energetic cosmic rays.
Cosmic rays: the puzzles continue
August 1998 news article from Physics World about the possible observation of cosmic rays having energy larger than the supposed upper limit.
Catching No Rays
Short April 2008 Scientific American article. "Missing in action: ultraenergetic cosmic rays from the Virgo cluster."


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

The Cosmic Ray Riddle
Sarah Charley
Symmetry Magazine, March 2012
Data from the world's most powerful particle colliders should shed light on a 100-year-old astrophysics mystery, but even they cannot explain the perplexing properties of the universe's most energetic particles. Are ultra-high-energy cosmic rays heavier than expected? Or did scientists inadvertently discover a new type of physics?
Cosmic mystery
Susan Gaidos
Science News, February 28, 2009
High-energy invaders from space could signal a nearby pulsar, or perhaps dark matter.
Showered in Mystery
Ivan Semeniuk
Astronomy, January 2001, pp. 43-47
New detectors are being deployed in order to gather more data on very rare ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. The energy behind these events is so high (1021 eV) that their source is not known, and even the type (or types) of particle involved hasn't been determined.
Rain of Fire
Reuven Ramaty; James C. Higdon; Richard E. Lingenfelter; Benzion Kozlovsky
The Sciences, November-December 1999, pp. 24-29
The origins of even normal (not necessarily high-energy) cosmic rays are still mysterious. One possible origin is "superbubbles", cavities in the interstellar medium created by the explosions of many supernovae.
Cosmic Rays, Nuclear Gamma Rays and the Origin of the Light Elements
Reuven Ramaty, Benzion Kozlovsky, Richard Lingenfelter
Physics Today, April 1998, pp. 30-35
Observations of the abundance of light elements in galactic halo stars indicate that all but the most energetic cosmic rays originate in supernova explosions.
The Highest-Energy Cosmic Rays
Thomas O'Halloran, Pierre Sokolsky, Shigeru Yoshida
Physics Today, January 1998, pp. 31-37
There are a few cosmic ray events involving particles having more energy than seemingly possible. Questions of the origin and mechanism of such high-energy cosmic rays are considered.
Cosmic Rays at the Energy Frontier
James W. Cronin, Thomas K. Gaisser, Simon P. Swordy
Scientific American, January 1997, pp. 44-49
Observation of high-energy cosmic rays and theories of their origin are discussed.


Recommended references: Books

Michael W. Friedlander -- A Thin Cosmic Rain: Particles from Outer Space
Harvard University Press, 2000
A large portion of Friedlander's book is the history of research into cosmic rays and a discussion of how they are studied. But one also finds a good survey of all the different types of matter (and energy) that make up cosmic rays, and what they can tell us about astrophysical processes. The important question -- where cosmic rays in general, and the most energetic in particular, come from -- is not neglected.
Roger Clay, Bruce Dawson - Cosmic Bullets: High-Energy Particles in Astrophysics
Addison-Wesley, 1997
The high-energy charged particles known as cosmic rays carry a large amount of astrophysical information. This book surveys the history of cosmic ray astronomy and explains the open questions regarding the source of the highest-energy events, including a possible connection with gamma ray bursts.

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