Scientists are seeking answers to a new outer space mystery after a telescope in Utah detected the most powerful cosmic ray seen in more than three decades. While its origin is a mystery, the rare, ultra-high-energy particle is believed to have traveled to Earth from beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Cosmic rays with energies of more than 100 exa-electron volts (EeV) are rarely detected but the biggest ones found so far seem to come from voids or empty space. The recently discovered cosmic ray, first detected on May 27, 2021, at the Telescope Array in Millard County, Utah, had an estimated energy of 240 EeV. Astronomer Toshihiro Fujii at the Osaka Metropolitan University in Japan found the “surprising” signals during a routine data check.

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