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Antarctic Experiment Finds Puzzling Distribution of Cosmic Rays

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the this-way-to-the-aliens dept.

Space 119

pitchpipe writes "A puzzling pattern in the cosmic rays bombarding Earth from space has been discovered by an experiment buried deep under the ice of Antarctica. ... It turns out these particles are not arriving uniformly from all directions. The new study detected an overabundance of cosmic rays coming from one part of the sky, and a lack of cosmic rays coming from another." The map of this uneven distribution comes from the IceCube neutrino observatory last mentioned several days ago.

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Really? (5, Funny)

smallfries (601545) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097248)

Scientists have called this part of the sky "The Sun".

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097480)

You'd better inform them that the sun isn't in our solar system! Great catch, there!

Huzzah! (3, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097288)

It would be great if they'd actually found the center of the universe, in contradiction to all previous theories, since that would allow a hole in relativity that you might be able to squeeze FTL through. At least as far as i understand it some methods of FTL would be non-paradoxical if there was actually a universal reference frame instead of everything being, well, relative.

Unfortunately i'm sure there's a much more mundane explanation for the phenomenon which they will eventually discover.

more questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097476)

and what if you take a balloon fill it 80% with water the rest with oil shake it up and then prick the bottom
does the mixed liquid go straight out or does it go out in a cone shape and paint the floor.

perhaps this is what they are detecting OR something is absorbing cosmic rays at this other side of the universe.....a hole perhaps we collided and tore a hole there
i dunno im tired my physics brain is not in.....and Slashdot dont allow me to post enough cause of the mod nazis

Re:Huzzah! (2, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097584)

The center of the universe is about 3cm behind the bridge of your nose.

Re:Huzzah! (3, Funny)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098228)

The centre of my universe is a couple of feet lower.

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33100732)

Just a couple? Your stomach then?

Casanunda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33101996)

Not necessarily; he could be a dwarf.

Re:Huzzah! (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097778)

At least as far as I understand it some methods of FTL would be non-paradoxical if there was actually a universal reference frame instead of everything being, well, relative.

This universal reference exists and is known by scientists, google for cosmic microwave dipole [google.com] .

Our galaxy is moving at 627 km/s in relation to the microwave background radiation of the universe, which is the nearest direct effect of the Big Bang that we can observe.

Re:Huzzah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098326)

why do you believe that the universe must have a "center"? Center of mass? Location of big-bang origin? Center of energy distribution? Why would you believe that this is not constantly changing or does not exist at all?

When you want to know something, it is best to start by defining your terms as best you can and identify what it is that you are seeking....that way you can accurately identify all the things that are NOT it and are probably more interesting than your original question anyway.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098968)

I'm not sure where you got the idea that i think the universe must have a center. I would like it if it _did_ have a center, or at least something that would serve as a reference point, so that certain kinds of FTL would be possible (again, if i'm understanding the theory) but i never said that it had to. And i concluded by saying that they'll probably find this phenomenon is evidence of something else entirely. So i'm really not sure what you're on about.

Re:Huzzah! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099472)

i'm sick of people saying there's no center.

if you freeze time, every single piece of matter in the universe will be fixed in a single position. every single piece of matter can be 'reached' from every other piece of matter, though you'd have to travel for billions of years to get to some (remember time has stopped, so inflation has ceased). thus, every piece of matter could be given an xyz coordinate relative to the first piece of matter you decide to start measuring from.

you plot every xyz coordinate of every piece of matter in the universe. you will end up with a shape, no matter how odd it looks (donut, blob, square, pyramid, who cares). that shape has a center, which is the average of all xyz coordinates.

deal with it.

Re:Huzzah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099632)

if you freeze time, every single piece of matter in the universe will be fixed in a single position. every single piece of matter can be 'reached' from every other piece of matter, though you'd have to travel for billions of years to get to some (remember time has stopped, so inflation has ceased).

Go ahead and freeze time. Then go ahead and travel for "billions of years". I'll wait.

Whoops, you contradicted yourself in your first point.

you plot every xyz coordinate of every piece of matter in the universe. you will end up with a shape, no matter how odd it looks (donut, blob, square, pyramid, who cares). that shape has a center, which is the average of all xyz coordinates.

That "center" doesn't have to be in the "shape". Where is the center of the surface of a sphere?

Re:Huzzah! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099774)

jesus christ. either there is finite matter in the universe or there isn't. either at a single slice of time every piece of matter is in a fixed location or it isn't.

got a problem with that? there's a finite number of atoms in the universe, and they occupy a given point in space at a single planck interval of time? are either of those too hard for you to accept?

you can trace a line between every atom in the universe and every other atom in the universe. the length of those lines is irrelevant.

if you think the average of a set of numbers can be outside the minimum and maximum of that set, you're an idiot.

Re:Huzzah! (0, Troll)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099896)

There's no need to get testy. You're working with some pretty fungible terms here. First of all, the sum of mass and energy in our universe is finite - but it is not constant - at least with some definitions of the term "universe". By isolating the question to matter you miss the question just by phrasing it this way.

Now consider our light cone. From our present position there are some masses that early on passed beyond the distance where the light from there could ever arrive here no matter how redshifted, and every day more masses fall over that line. Even travelling at the speed of light you could not go there, because the distance between is expanding faster than the speed of light. Those masses are lost to us. This is also true of some of the furthest points we can see, as they cast that light before they fell so far from us and went outside our light cone. From one point of view these masses and energies are outside our universe now - and there's some doubt that they still exist. Then there are all the energies radiated outward away from us since the formation of those masses. Those are also lost, and in the terms you're talking about energy is equivalent to mass.

Tracing a line.. I must suppose you're not talking about a straight line, since in the context of a line that spans the universe the "straight line" concept is meaningless. Space itself is not straight, and I'm starting to think even Time is at least bi-curious.

Still, there is an implied assumption in your post I'm curious about. Are you holding the impression that the universe is contiguous? Have you got a citation on that?

Re:Huzzah! (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100896)

All of this is presuming that the rapid expansion phase of the Big Bang is in fact reality and that the Big Bang theory is in fact the correct cosmological theory for the origin of the universe.

Mind you, I'm not disputing the conclusion here nor even that this is the prevailing theory for the universe, but there are some postulates and presumptions to your discussion here which are unstated. With those presumptions, you are correct.

I'll admit that discovering a "center" to the universe would create some very different theories about the origin of the universe and be some very real meat for perhaps a deeper understanding of how everything is put together. It might even be sufficient to find a level of mechanics that would "overthrow" Einstein's relativity equations with something else (likely more complex still).

It was the discovery that light traveled at the same speed in all directions from experiment that led to much of the current understanding of the universe and most current theories in cosmology and celestial mechanics. Science is advanced when experimental results show up that don't fit with current theories.

Good points... this did not deserve a troll mod... (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33101640)

I don't understand mods here sometimes...

The idea of tracing lines in space is what got my attention as well. It's as if previous posters have forgotten that Euclidean geometry breaks down when you start talking about the universe.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

nusuth (520833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100482)

By your definition center of the universe is you. There is a real, scientific explanation for this fact, but I'm too lazy to explain it to you. Just check out what "our universe" and "a single slice of time" means in context of relativity.

Re:Huzzah! (3, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100484)

you plot every xyz coordinate of every piece of matter in the universe. you will end up with a shape, no matter how odd it looks (donut, blob, square, pyramid, who cares). that shape has a center, which is the average of all xyz coordinates.

This would be true only if the universe had an euclidean geometry.

This is hard to visualize in three dimensions, so let's start with a two-dimensional case. Imagine a perfectly flat horizontal surface. Any triangle you draw in that surface will have three internal angles that add up to 180 degrees. If you draw any finite number of points there you could take the average of the xy coordinates and define a "center" for that set of points.

Now imagine a curved surface, let's say the surface of the earth. Define a triangle like this: point A is at zero latitude, zero longitude. Point B is at zero latitude, 90 degrees West longitude. Point C is at the North Pole. This triangle has three angles of ninety degrees, adding up to 270 degrees.

How would you define a "center" for a set of points randomly distributed over the surface of the earth? You could do it only if those points were sufficiently close together so the surface between them could be approximated by a flat surface. You can talk about the center of a continent, but the center of the whole surface of the earth is undefined.

Imagine the same problem in a universe with three dimensions that's curved in a fourth dimension and you will understand a bit of what general relativity is all about.

Re:Huzzah! (2, Interesting)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 4 years ago | (#33102158)

Imagine the same problem in a universe with three dimensions that's curved in a fourth dimension and you will understand a bit of what general relativity is all about.

More like a pseudo-understanding. It's a bad analogy. The fourth dimension is not spatial. It's temporal [wikipedia.org] . It was mathematically convenient to place time on the graph simultaneously. It also happens to reflect what special relativity indicates is the reality: that space and time are not independent. However time is not really the fourth dimension in the way that people usually think of it, in the way that a tesseract [wikipedia.org] is a four dimensional object, an object that can only be correctly measured using 4 spatial dimensions or axes. This is a very common misconception that unfortunately science fiction has not helped. It is more like a convenient graph of 4 different parameters And again it reflects the reality that our naive idea of independent time is an illusion. The bowling ball and marbles on a rubber mat (to represent a solar system) analogy is also flawed because it tends to make us treat time as a spatial axis. While a great deal of special relativity can be understood intuitively, Minkowski space can only really be understood mathematically. All of the analogies are really hopeless. Our brains are simply not currently wired to understand time as a fourth axis, no matter how elegant and beautiful it makes the equations.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099646)

Mundane, meaning related to the Earth?

Re:Huzzah! (1)

damianpeterson (1690134) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100326)

Unfortunately i'm sure there's a much more mundane explanation for the phenomenon which they will eventually discover.

It'll be Antarctic pigeons [scilogs.eu] nesting in the equipment.

Re:Huzzah! (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 4 years ago | (#33101378)

Unfortunately i'm sure there's a much more mundane explanation for the phenomenon which they will eventually discover.

You are probably right.

However when I read an article like this one, I do wonder what sort of interstellar drive would produce an exhaust or wake with these kinds of characteristics? It seems to me that today's astronomical discussions should include some comments on the possibility that what is being observed out there might not be a natural phenomenon.

Here's a thought (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097442)

God went that-a-way

GIANT unseen black hole is coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098632)

ha ha

Re:Here's a thought (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098912)

Okay...so Armageddon is this-a-way?

Scientists: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097458)

Yet in sifting through their cosmic-ray data to try to separate it from possible neutrino signals, the researchers noticed the intriguing pattern.

How exactly do scientists sift through this data? I guess it's all energy, so they have graphs with wave functions on them?

Re:Scientists: (3, Funny)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097566)

Look around you.

Look... around you.

Look... around you. ...

How DO scientists sift through this data? They insert the assembled facts into a wave function graphing device.

Note that down in your copybook.

The device is powered by 2 icktoms of intelligent calcium and a green anole.

(addressing anole, paper lab jacket is visibly taped to the lizard's back) Hello, Professor!

When the functions display a wave on the screen of the osomoscope, the scientists interpret the signal. How do the scientists interpret it?

We may never know. Scientists have very intelligent brains, and it can be quite a challenge to even guess what they want for lunch. ... ...back next time when we learn about wood.

Re:Scientists: (5, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097652)

Look Around You.
Look. Around. You.
Have you guessed what we're looking for, yet? Yes, that's right - it's computer programming.
[ MAN SITTING AT TYPEWRITER ]
This man is writing a computer programme. A computer programme is like a script that tells a computer what to do. Like people, computers understand different languages - some examples of computer languages are:
* C
* PASCAL
* BASIC
* C double-plus
* C triple-plus
* C detuned bassoon
* Norwegian

Your school computer is probably a BBC Microcomputerisation Engine and, therefore, understands a dialect of BASIC known as 'HyperFrench.'
Make a note of this in your copybook... now.

Re:Scientists: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099066)

While I instantly recognize this from late night channel-flipping, and realize it couldn't possibly be more off topic, I must ask... what is origin of this nonsense?

Re:Scientists: (2, Informative)

srodden (949473) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099994)

Google tells me it's a BBC comedy spoof of educational films called... Look Around You

Re:Scientists: (1)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 4 years ago | (#33101178)

and it's all on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=look+around+you [youtube.com]

I love Look Around You. It's a nonsense-filled educational program spoof about science. Cartoon Network showed the second season in their Adult Swim lineup a couple years ago. The first and second seasons have different formats and intros and music, and the "next episode" bits allude to shows that don't exist. Series 1 episodes are shorter and more abstract "in the classroom" type videos. Series 2 are longer format documentaries with recurring reporters and subjects and running gags (like the goofy giant vault doors).

Spoilers: my favorite bits are Maths (season 1), Music (season 2, with the Little Mouse music video), Health (season 2, fairly horrifying) and Computer Games (season 2) with the worlds smartest computer which they challenge to escape from a cage and then find that at the end it has replaced itself with a paper mache decoy.

Thanks ants. Thants.

Re:Scientists: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099550)

I love you!

Re:Scientists: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099082)

This is what you get when you build a brand new IceCube system and don't tell about the little red button down there..

Not ordinary Cosmic Rays (3, Funny)

photogchris (1847394) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097462)

Oh, I know what is going on. With all the earthquakes, floods, oil well leaks and explosions, global warming. Those aren't any ordinary cosmic rays, they are Mongo Rays! Lord Ming has it in for us. Where is Flash and Dr. Zarkov when we need them?

Modding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097776)

Funny or not, why would that be a troll?

Re:Modding (1)

SpongeBob Hitler (1848328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098566)

Funny or not, why would that be a troll?

Max von Sydow has mod points.

Re:Not ordinary Cosmic Rays (1)

needs2bfree (1256494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098054)

No, its because the cosmic rays have mutated! Soon they will cause the earth's core to boil, causing earthquakes and a shifting of the earths' crust by 50 degrees!!

Linux is for faggots (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097514)

Ice Cube would bust a cap in your ass for being a faggot.

obligatory (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097532)

Upon closer inspection they will probably see that they're coming from Uranus! (Get it? Uranus - the old pronunciation "your anus", not the new one "yur-unus"! Weener! Weener! Weener)

Correlation with Magnetic Poles? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097552)

Wouldn't one expect this? After all, the magnetic poles would act as areas where cosmic rays would impact at a higher intensity. And... the poles drift and fluctuate.

Re:Correlation with Magnetic Poles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097740)

The particles in question pass through a kilometer of solid ice, they are going so fast they wouldnt even notice the earths magnetic field.

Re:Correlation with Magnetic Poles? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097768)

Except that the detector is for detecting neutrinos. They have no charge. Not only that but they are not expected to interact with the earth's magnetic fields according to the current theory. If only there were some sort of "article" that might have this kind of information in a form that is easy to "read" with a convenient "hyper-link" to lead us to it.

Sheesh... if only we had some sort of "moderators" who might understand this. "interesting" my ass.

Not neutrinos. (2, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098454)

While it's true that IceCube is designed to be a neutrino telescope, the observations here involve more common and easier to detect cosmic rays (e.g. gamma rays), coming from the southern half of the sky.

See, when IceCube is looking for neutrinos, they look for signals coming from beneath the northern part of the sky. They are essentially using the entire planet earth as a filter for cosmic rays since they can't pass through that much solid material, while neutrinos can with ease. Neutrinos don't interact electromagnetically at all, so to them "solid" matter is mostly empty space. Which includes the detector itself, which is why it's so important to filter out sources of noise.

They can tell what direction something is coming from (see the map), so if it came from the sky, it's probably not a neutrino but some other cosmic ray. And it looks like they were looking at all the data they would be subtracting out from their data sets when looking for neutrinos, and found something interesting about the distribution.

But as the article itself says, our magnetic field could in fact be the cause of this observed feature, since the rays in question are electromagnetic in nature. But I like the supernova theory, because it involves gigantic explosions. :)

Re:Not neutrinos. (1)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100580)

This post becomes weird when IceCube brings up a different reference...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_Cube [wikipedia.org]

Re:Correlation with Magnetic Poles? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099274)

...neutrinos ... have no charge ... are not expected to interact with the earth's magnetic fields according to the current theory.

Oh. Well, if it's according to current theory, that's OK then.
For 30 some years of my life, I was told (by current theory) they were massless. Matter of fact, current theory still doesn't have a good number for neutrino mass.

While the Standard Model might have a lot in the way of predictive power, it doesn't have a lot in the way of explanatory power. How about you just add this uneven distribution factoid to the list of things you can't explain and get back to us when you have a theory that works from first principles.

Re:Correlation with Magnetic Poles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33100658)

Hmmm ... for 30 years of MY life, it's been "unknown whether they were massless or not, but if they have mass, then it is less than [insert small fraction] of the mass of an electron".

Sounds like the folks you were listening to were performing some hidden rounding-down ....

Is it the Earths magnetic field? (0, Redundant)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097576)

I mean, it is what protects us from vasts amounts of cosmic rays, and we know that our magnetic field isn't perfectly symmetrical ... maybe those differences account for a vast majority of this patterns? And the various celestial bodies that surround us (constantly deflecting this rays) account for the rest?

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (5, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097646)

> I mean, it is what protects us from vasts amounts of cosmic rays...

No it isn't. The Earth's magnetic field has negligible effect on cosmic rays: they are far to energetic for it to influence them significantly. What protects us from cosmic rays is the atmosphere.

> ...maybe those differences account for a vast majority of this patterns?

The physicists will have already taken the small (but known) effect of the magnetic field into account.

> And the various celestial bodies that surround us (constantly deflecting
> this rays) account for the rest?

Celestial bodies do not surround us. The sun and the moon together cover less than 1/100,000th of the sky.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (4, Insightful)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097674)

It makes me sad that you had to explain that here.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097870)

You sound so smug and superior, I had to find a source. The magnetic field certainly is a significant source of protection [anl.gov] .

this also applies to the parent of your post.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098274)

From your own source:

The Earth's magnetic field will deflect the particles somewhat, but their speed is so high the deflection is not so large as to "stop" the particle.

The magnetic field of the Earth deflects and captures particles ... emitted by the Sun (called solar winds). However, the speed of these fragments is much slower than the speed of cosmic rays.

So your statement that "[the Earth's magnetic field] is what protects us from vasts amounts of cosmic rays" is wrong. Sorry.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097904)

I'm happy that it was phrased in the form of a question. Too often, the reaction to a bit of science that somebody doesn't wish to believe is simply rejection of it, perhaps combined with unsourced assertions (or assertions to un-peer-reviewed sources).

You don't have to know everything in science. There's too much to know. Ignorance is fine, as long as you're (a) aware of it, (b) curious, and (c) not going to fight against those who do know it.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098224)

Excellent point.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099788)

It makes me sad that you had to explain that here.

You must be new around these parts. Despite Slashdot's self image as a haven of the extremely smart and well educated... it's really not much better than any other random collection of people. A few at one end of the bell curve, a few at the other, and the bulk huddled comfortably under the hump in the middle. Only nowadays, with education (both formal and self) being rare - what's under the hump isn't all that remarkable.
 
Somehow there has arisen here the belief that being a techie or a soi-disant geek/nerd means you're automagically above average intelligence and thus smarter than the general run of the populace. (Though how knowing all the characters and plotlines of all the 'right' and most popular anime make you 'smarter' than the guy who knows all the stats for all the major Red Sox players for the last fifty years escapes me - but that's what is commonly believed here.) They don't recognize the existence of a difference between being smart and being educated - and being wise enough to know what you don't know.
 
Be thankful it was posed in the form of a question though. Because the corollary to that self image is the steadfast belief that any random Slashdotter knows more about the topic than experts on the topic - no matter what the topic. All manner of arrant nonsense, urban legends, and utter bilge gets moderated up because the moderators (drawn from the same pool as the posters) hold the same self image and thus hold the corollary as well.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33101192)

I'm an accountant, not an astronomer. I have an interest in all things scientific and sometimes have to ask questions that, to you may seem very basic.

Now go fuck yourself.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 4 years ago | (#33101220)

Why, because you assume every single person on this site is an expert on the subject of cosmic rays?

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098100)

The Earth's magnetic field has negligible effect on cosmic rays: they are far to energetic for it to influence them significantly.

I wonder why the researcher on the project doesn't rule out the magnetic field.

FTA: whether it's due to the magnetic field surrounding us or to the effect of a nearby supernova remnant, we don't know.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098184)

> FTA: whether it's due to the magnetic field surrounding us or to the effect
> of a nearby supernova remnant, we don't know.

The cosmic rays will have travelled a long ways through interstellar space permeated by magnetic fields that, unlike that of the Earth, we don't have detailed maps of.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098130)

No it isn't. The Earth's magnetic field has negligible effect on cosmic rays: they are far to energetic for it to influence them significantly. What protects us from cosmic rays is the atmosphere.

There is a link between solar activity and cosmic rays and of course there is the interaction of the solar wind and our magnetic field, so in theory there is a pathway between cosmic rays and the Earth's magnetic field.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099430)

Exactly! The more solar activity the more cosmic rays bombard our planet.
Cosmic ray flux has actually been record high over the last few years thanks to the extended period of very low solar activity:
http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/query.cgi?startdate=1964/07/01&starttime=00:00&enddate=2010/08/01&endtime=03:12&resolution=Automatic%20choice&picture=on

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33100264)

... that should, of course, be "the _less_ solar activity, the more cosmic rays"

This is one of the good-fit hypothesises with regards to so-called "global warming". Less active sun = more cosmic rays = more clouds = less heat.

The warming would then come from the combined effects of the solar cycles in the latter part of the 20th century which were the strongest in recorded history. The difference from currently debunked solar theories is that it's not the TSI (visible solar output) that effects the climate, but the strength of the cosmic ray deflection.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098468)

No it isn't. The Earth's magnetic field has negligible effect on cosmic rays: they are far to energetic for it to influence them significantly. What protects us from cosmic rays is the atmosphere.

This is incorrect. The International Space Station has a significantly lower cosmic radiation environment due to the Earth's magnetic field. However, the cosmic rays that are energetic enough to be detected under a few hundred meters of ice can easily punch through the Earth's magnetic field.

Celestial bodies do not surround us. The sun and the moon together cover less than 1/100,000th of the sky.

Indeed. The heliosphere might, due to its vast size (and its shock interaction with the galactic medium is apparently a known source of cosmic rays), be an intermediate filter with enough pull to distort the path of incoming cosmic rays.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098834)

The International Space Station has a significantly lower cosmic radiation environment due to the Earth's magnetic field.

The Earth's magnetic field shields it from solar "cosmic" rays and probably some secondary galactic ones. The primaries, however, are so energetic that they are merely deflected a bit. What does stop a lot of primaries is the field embedded in the solar wind. Since the heliosphere is asymmetric and poorly mapped this may very well account for the observed asymmetry. I concede that the Earth's field may have more than negligible effect, but I still think that the researchers will have accounted for it.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098660)

Celestial bodies do not surround us. The sun and the moon together cover less than 1/100,000th of the sky.

Really? so you are saying the universe is flat, and the earth is off in a corner where nothing but the sun and moon are around it?

Seems to me, that the universe is in at least 3 Dimensions, and no matter which direction we go, we are going to hit some "celestial" body.

And considering Celestial bodies means naturally occurring physical entities, associations or structures that current science has demonstrated to exist in outer space, but not including earth, seems that maybe your a bit wrong on your last part there.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098752)

> Seems to me, that the universe is in at least 3 Dimensions, and no matter
> which direction we go, we are going to hit some "celestial" body.

Since all but a negligible fraction of all the celestial bodies in the universe are stars that would mean that the entire sky would glow at the surface temperature of the average star since no matter where you looked you would be looking directly at the surface of a star.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099650)

You have rediscovered Olber's Paradox.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098980)

The sun and the moon together cover less than 1/100,000th of the sky.

Really? so you are saying the universe is flat, and the earth is off in a corner where nothing but the sun and moon are around it?

Is the sky flat where you live?

"and no matter which direction we go, we are going to hit some "celestial" body."

Nope, space is pretty much just space. Galaxies commonly collide with each other but the stars within those collisions very rarely smash into each other. It's not that there is any shortage of celestial bodies it's just that space is really, really, big.

There's also the fact that ALL of the celestial bodies are contained within the microwave background, so why is it that we can see the microwave background if every direction is obscured with a celestial body?

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (1)

Paxinum (1204260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097736)

In that case, the direction would be relative to the earth, but I interpret this experiment as a part of the sky being special. That means, fixing the position of "telescope", would give different results on the day, when the earth rotates. If the magnetic field was the culprit, the reading would be the same as long as the position of the telescope is fixed.

Re:Is it the Earths magnetic field? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098002)

Wow who would have thought of that? Thanks random internet guy!

The ENTIRE upper part of the universe is GONE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097590)

We need to send a search party to the northern hemisphere as quickly as possible!

I propose (5, Funny)

Sabz5150 (1230938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097600)

We call this the "Microwave oven theory". Some areas get cooked to carbon, others are left frozen solid.

Did they discover any mountains too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097604)

I have hear in good faith from a one William Dyer, noted geologist, that there are certain elder things once lived in the area of towering Antarctic mountains. According to his testimony, he surmised that in their early history, they made extensive use of an ability to travel through and beyond the earth's atmospheric bounds. Clearly, these cosmic rays are the residuals of their transplanetary locomotion and indeed proof of their existence! I now look forward to when science is able to prove the existence of fabled city, R'lyeh.

Re:Did they discover any mountains too? (5, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098034)

R'lyeh is in the south pacific. Pnakoticos is in the Australian desert. Irem is in Saudia Arabia. Unfortunately, the Pentagonally Symmetrical Elder Things named their last surface city 'Can'ned'spham', which is why the Shoggoths ate them.

Interplanetary Magnietic Field Lines? (0)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097628)

The article alludes to the Earth's magnetic field but doesn't rule out its possible effects. I wonder if a comparison to a map of the Aurora Borealis might provoke further discussion.

Re:Interplanetary Magnietic Field Lines? (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097662)

The Earth's magnetic field is well mapped. The physicists will already have taken it into consideration.

Re:Interplanetary Magnietic Field Lines? (1)

dryeo (100693) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099518)

What isn't well mapped is the galactic magnetic field.

Re:Interplanetary Magnietic Field Lines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098710)

They mapped the cosmic rays against the sidereal sky.

The magnetic field isn't stationary against the stars, it moves all the time.

A map of auroras wouldn't show any correlation whatsoever with sidereal features.

Big Bang! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097632)

It is because the Big Bang was not uniform. The slightest variation became exponentially magnified in the direction that had the advantage.

Galactus comeths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33097714)

Beware the cosmic rays as they signal the coming of the herald of Galactus. Where's Dr. Richards?

Several Days Ago? (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#33097828)

That linked Slashdot article is June 24, 2010. Today is July 31. That's 37 days ago.

Re:Several Days Ago? (2, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098114)

Is that not several days?

Re:Several Days Ago? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099024)

that's because all the new editing standards at Slashdot designed to have less duplicate stories.

If those new standards weren't in place, this would be the second or third posting of the article.

Aliens (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098380)

Clearly that part of the sky is where the aliens are.
Time for the seti guys to try to break the compression algorithm - so that we can get communicating.

Re:Aliens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099084)

Or is it clearly that part of the sky where the aliens AREN'T? And which aliens?

Stargate (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33098400)

Its something to do with the second stargate, or the other ancient base in antarctica..

Earthbound particles? (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098412)

Maybe what they're measuring is coming from Earth's core..

(No, I didn't RTFA)

It's one of those 'hmm' deals..

Smoking gun (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098452)

...also, it scares me when scientists get visibly excited over the possibility of a 'smoking gun'.

Self-serving science is bad karma

Re:Smoking gun (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099058)

it scares me when scientists get visibly excited over the possibility of a 'smoking gun'

Why? Observational evidence is one of the central pillars of science, no?

Self-serving science is bad karma

Yes, fucking selfish bastards! Who do they think they are, sharing an intriging observation they can't explain.

Re:Smoking gun (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099504)

Yeah, you probably should have read the fucking article. The detection in this case amounts to an accident.

SETI fan fiction (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098788)

I looked at the image and the cosmic rays seem to be lacking only in a small area of the whole measurement. Maybe somebody in a galaxy far far away is blocking the cosmic rays en masse with a bunch of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere [wikipedia.org] (as in colonization of one or multiple galaxies).

Re:SETI fan fiction (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099570)

Maybe somebody in a galaxy far far away is blocking the cosmic rays en masse with a bunch of these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere [wikipedia.org] (as in colonization of one or multiple galaxies).

We know about these remote stars and galaxies because we can see them, which means they're not in a Dyson sphere.

I never knew (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098948)

My man Ice Cube was into observing subatomic particles.

Its due to ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33098970)

... penguin poop on the sensor.

This proves the stars are not evenly distributed? (2, Interesting)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099998)

As far as I can tell from reading the article, this proves that cosmic rays distribution does not follow a truly random pattern as they hit earth. Given that these rays originate from stars/nova/events and these events are not randomly distributed in the universe, why is this a surprise? I can only guess someone has theorised that if the universe is infinitely big, then the cosmic ray distribution should tend towards perfect (infinite) randomness. Can anyone shed light on the theory that this finding is diproving? links? This could also prove that the earth is travelling fast through rays, so it impacts more in the direction it moves, presumably the scientists have allowed for this too....

Maybe it is an image of the Virgin Mary? (1)

qwerty8ytrewq (1726472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100004)

We have seen toast, trees, bees nests, it stands to reason that this could be the Face of God, or a Dan Brown Novel promotional hoax....

Maybe (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100204)

Maybe the doctor got something wrong with the Pandorica

Bussard Ramjet. (1)

barv (1382797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33100234)

It's just a spaceships' (probably a Bussard Ramjet's) exhaust.

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