Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Radio receivers record cosmic rays hitting Earth

Filed under

A small prototype array in Germany has detected several radio flashes from cosmic rays that smack into the Earth's upper atmosphere. A larger array, with more of these low-cost radio antennas, could help astrophysicists decipher the mystery behind the highest energy cosmic rays.

Cosmic rays are high-speed sub-atomic particles - mostly nuclei and protons - that zip around space in all directions. Lucky for us, they cannot plow very far into our atmosphere before they collide with a gas molecule.

From these collisions come showers of secondary particles - including electrons, anti-electrons (called positrons), and muons, which are like heavy electrons. Cosmic rays can be characterized by the showers they produce.

Surprisingly, some of these space-faring projectiles have a 100 million times more energy than is possible in man-made accelerators. There are no "cosmic accelerators" in our galactic neighborhood that seem powerful enough to generate particles with this much energy.

Therefore, these so-called ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) presumably come from colliding galaxies or large black holes hundreds of millions of light years away. But that raises a problem: cosmic "stuff" along the way will slow - or even outright destroy - high-energy particles traveling these great distances.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Matching databases to Linux distros

Relational database management systems (RDBMSs) aren’t the sort of thing to get most folk out of bed in the morning – unless, of course, you happen to think they’re one of the most brilliant concepts ever dreamed up. These days you can’t sneeze without someone turning it into a table value in a database somewhere - and in combination with the freely available Linux operating system, there’s no end to them. Most Linux distros make it almost trivial to add popular DBMSs to your system, such as MySQL and MariaDB, by bundling them in for free in their online app stores. But how do you tell which combination - which Linux distro and which DBMS - will give you the best performance? This week we've revved up the Labs servers to ask the question: what level of performance do you get from OS repository-sourced DBMSs? Read more

The Curious Case of Raspberry Pi Consumerism

I find the attitude of many within the Raspberry Pi community to be strange and offensive. I first discovered this odd phenomenon (odd because it contradicts the ethos of the project's academic foundations) back when it first started, as many within the Raspberry Pi community took an extremely hostile attitude toward academic freedom, apparently in defence of various parties' highly dubious intellectual monopolies (Broadcom and MPEG-LA, for example). I pointed out the irony and hypocrisy of their attitude at the time, explaining that they were more than happy to leech Free (as in freedom) Software for their own benefit, but then balked at the prospect of freely sharing the results, and in particular this contradicted their stated academic goal of facilitating better computer education in UK schools, an environment that rightly demands open access to knowledge. Read more

Google Chrome 38 Beta Brings New Guest Mode and Easier Incognito Mode Switching

The developers have explained that the user switching feature has been redesigned and it will make changing profiles and into the incognito mode a lot simple. They have also added a new experimental Guest mode, a new experimental UI for Chrome supervised users has been implemented, and numerous under-the-hood changes have been made for stability and performance. "This release adds support for the new element thanks to the hard work of community contributor Yoav Weiss, who was able to dedicate his time to implementing this feature in multiple rendering engines because of a successful crowd-funding campaign that raised more than 50% of its funding goal." Read more

PfSense 2.1.5 Is a Free and Powerful FreeBSD-Based Firewall Operating System

PfSense is a free network firewall distribution based on the FreeBSD, it comes with a custom kernel, and a few quite powerful applications that should make its users’ life a lot easier. Most of the firewall distros are Linux-based, but PfSense is a little bit different and is using FreeBSD. Regular users won't feel anything out of the ordinary, but it's an interesting choice for the base. The developers of PfSense are also saying that their distro has been successful in replacing a number of commercial firewalls such as Check Point, Cisco PIX, Cisco ASA, Juniper, Sonicwall, Netgear, Watchguard, Astar, and others. Read more