Mysterious High-Energy Particle Detected Falling to Earth from Empty Space

Astronomers left baffled by the origin of the Amaterasu particle, one of the highest-energy cosmic rays ever detected, which appears to have emerged from the seemingly empty Local Void.

Astronomers have made a perplexing discovery, detecting a rare and incredibly high-energy particle falling to Earth from an apparently empty region of space. Named Amaterasu, after the sun goddess in Japanese mythology, this particle has left scientists puzzled as it originated from the Local Void, an empty area bordering the Milky Way galaxy. With an energy exceeding 240 exa-electron volts (EeV), Amaterasu is one of the most energetic cosmic rays ever observed. This discovery challenges current theories about the sources of such high-energy particles and raises questions about the nature of the universe.

The Mystery of Amaterasu’s Origin

The trajectory of the Amaterasu particle has been traced back to its source, revealing an unexpected twist. There is no known source in the region that could have produced such a high-energy particle. Professor John Matthews of the University of Utah, a co-author of the study published in the journal Science, expressed his bewilderment, stating, “That’s the mystery of this – what the heck is going on?” The energy level of Amaterasu surpasses that of particles generated in the Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful accelerator ever built.

Exploring the Limits of Cosmic Events

Traditionally, only the most powerful cosmic events, far exceeding the explosion of a star, were believed to produce particles of this magnitude. However, Amaterasu’s emergence from the seemingly empty Local Void challenges this understanding. Supernovae, which are often considered energetic events, do not possess the necessary energy to create such particles. Professor Matthews explains that confining and accelerating a particle to reach this level of energy requires immense amounts of energy and high magnetic fields.

Unprecedented Energy Levels

Toshihiro Fujii, an associate professor at Osaka Metropolitan University in Japan, expressed his astonishment upon discovering Amaterasu. He initially believed there must have been a mistake, as the particle’s energy level had not been observed in the last three decades. Only the Oh-My-God particle, detected in 1991, surpasses Amaterasu in energy, with a measurement of 320 EeV. The energy of Amaterasu is equivalent to a golf ball traveling at 95mph.

Searching for the Source

Scientists speculate that a super-massive black hole at the center of another galaxy could be a potential candidate for producing particles with such high energy levels. In the vicinity of these colossal entities, matter is stripped down to its subatomic structures, and particles are ejected into the universe at speeds close to that of light. Cosmic rays, remnants of these violent celestial events, constantly bombard Earth and can be detected by observatories such as the Telescope Array in Utah, which discovered the Amaterasu particle.

Tracing the Origin

Particles with energy levels comparable to Amaterasu and the Oh-My-God particle are expected to travel through intergalactic space relatively unbent by magnetic fields, making it possible to trace their origin. However, both particles appear to have no discernible source. Tracing Amaterasu’s trajectory backward points toward empty space, similar to the Oh-My-God particle. Scientists suggest that this may indicate a larger magnetic deflection than predicted, an unidentified source within the Local Void, or an incomplete understanding of high-energy particle physics.

Unconventional Explanations

Professor John Belz, another co-author of the study, suggests unconventional explanations for these mysterious particles. He mentions possible defects in the structure of spacetime or colliding cosmic strings. These ideas arise due to the lack of a conventional explanation for the origin of these ultra-high-energy particles. The Telescope Array in Utah, uniquely positioned to detect such cosmic rays, is currently undergoing expansion. Astronomers hope that this expansion will provide more data to help unravel the mystery behind Amaterasu and similar events.


The detection of the Amaterasu particle, an extremely high-energy cosmic ray originating from the empty Local Void, has left scientists perplexed. With an energy level exceeding 240 EeV, this particle challenges current theories about the sources of high-energy particles. The absence of a discernible source raises questions about the nature of intergalactic magnetic fields, the possibility of unidentified sources within the Local Void, or the need for a more comprehensive understanding of high-energy particle physics. As the Telescope Array undergoes expansion, astronomers eagerly await more data that may shed light on the origins of these enigmatic cosmic rays. The mystery of Amaterasu continues to captivate scientists and deepen our understanding of the universe’s most powerful phenomena.






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