Research Article

Correlation of the Highest-Energy Cosmic Rays with Nearby Extragalactic Objects

Science  09 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5852, pp. 938-943
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151124

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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 6 × 1019 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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