News of the WeekAstronomy

Fly's Eye Spies Highs in Cosmic Rays' Demise

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Science  19 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5469, pp. 1147
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5469.1147a

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LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA-- In 1991, astronomers at the Fly's Eye observatory in Utah detected a cosmic ray packing 320 exa-electron volts (EeV) of energy, the same punch as an 88-kilometer-an-hour baseball pitch. Now, observations from Fly's Eye's replacement have shown that the 320-EeV monster was not a freak of nature. This month at an American Physical Society meeting here, astronomers from the High-Resolution Fly's Eye detector, or HiRes, announced that they had found a handful of ultrasuperhigh-energy cosmic rays that deepen the mystery about the origin of these strange particles.