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Correlation of the highest energy cosmic rays with nearby extragalactic objects

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      Abstract

      Using data collected at the Pierre Auger Observatory during the past 3.7 years, we demonstrated a correlation between the arrival directions of cosmic rays with energy above ~ 6x10^{19} electron volts and the positions of active galactic nuclei (AGN) lying within ~ 75 megaparsecs. We rejected the hypothesis of an isotropic distribution of these cosmic rays with at least a 99% confidence level from a prescribed a priori test. The correlation we observed is compatible with the hypothesis that the highest energy particles originate from nearby extragalactic sources whose flux has not been substantially reduced by interaction with the cosmic background radiation. AGN or objects having a similar spatial distribution are possible sources.

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      Most cited references 4

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      Evidence for a Primary Cosmic-Ray Particle with Energy1020eV

       John Linsley (1963)
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        The Origin of Ultra-High-Energy Cosmic Rays

         A. M. Hillas (1984)
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          The arrival directions of the most energetic cosmic rays

          In this Letter we examine the arrival directions of the most energetic cosmic rays (E > 2 * 10^19 eV) detected by several air shower experiments. We find that data taken by different air shower arrays show positive correlations, indicating a non--uniform arrival direction distribution. We also find that the events with energy $ > 4 * 10^19 eV exhibit a correlation with the general direction of the supergalactic plane, where a large number of potential sources is located. If confirmed by data from other experiments our results would support models for the extragalactic origin of the highest energy cosmic rays.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            14 November 2007
            0711.2256
            10.1126/science.1151124
            Custom metadata
            Science 318:938-943,2007
            22 pages, 2 figures
            astro-ph

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