Amaterasu particle falling to Earth

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The Amaterasu particle is an extremely high-energy cosmic ray that was detected falling to Earth. Named after the sun goddess in Japanese mythology, it is one of the highest-energy cosmic rays ever detected, with an energy exceeding 240 exa-electron volts (EeV)127. This energy level is millions of times more than particles produced in the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful accelerator ever built127. The Amaterasu particle comes only second in recorded history to the Oh-My-God particle, another ultra-high-energy cosmic ray which was detected in 1991, possessing 320 EeV of energy27. The origins of the Amaterasu particle are currently unknown and its detection has baffled scientists. It appears to have emerged from the Local Void, an empty area of space bordering the Milky Way galaxy12. Only the most powerful cosmic events, on scales far exceeding the explosion of a star, are thought to be capable of producing such energetic particles12. However, when tracing the trajectory of the Amaterasu particle to its source, scientists found no high-energy source that could have produced it12. When ultra-high-energy cosmic rays like the Amaterasu particle hit Earth's atmosphere, they cause a cascade of secondary particles and electromagnetic radiation in what is known as an extensive air shower27. Some charged particles in the air shower travel faster than light travels through the atmosphere, producing a type of electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by specialized instruments27. The Amaterasu particle was detected by the Telescope Array observatory in Utah12. The detection of the Amaterasu particle has raised several possibilities, including a much larger magnetic deflection than predicted, an unidentified source in the Local Void, or an incomplete understanding of high-energy particle physics12. Scientists hope that the Amaterasu particle will pave the way for further investigations that could help shed light on ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and their origins27.
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