News of the WeekAstrophysics

Galactic Glare Reveals Birthplace of Cosmic Rays

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Science  20 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5956, pp. 1047
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5956.1047

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Cosmic rays—charged particles that hurtle through space at nearly the speed of light—have long baffled scientists. How do they acquire such tremendous velocities? Two new astronomical results—one in this week's issue of Science (p. 1080) and the other published online this month in Nature—suggest that the physicist Enrico Fermi nailed the answer 60 years ago: They get their oomph from exploding stars.