Enigmatic Cosmic Rays Might Come From Hot Gaseous Superbubbles

According to new study enigmatic cosmic rays that strike Earth with giant amounts of energy might come from hot gaseous superbubbles in space. Cosmic rays bombard Earth with energies but their origins remain a mystery. Since cosmic rays are electrically charged, they can get pushed and pulled around by interstellar magnetic fields in the gas between the stars as they zip through space, obscuring where they come from. Now scientists may have pinpointed cosmic rays coming from a superbubble, one caused by powerful winds from clusters of young, massive stars punching into the surrounding molecular clouds of gas and dust. The superbubble lies in the Cygnus X region of the sky, within the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.

It was likely created by clusters of massive stars, such as the Cygnus OB2 association. The cluster contains more than 500 stars, each more than 10 times the mass of our sun. NASA‘s Fermi Large Area Telescope detected a wide range of gamma rays emanating from a space about 160 light-years wide. The spectrum of gamma rays seen match those one would expect freshly generated cosmic rays to give off. Researchers detected that the gamma rays appear confined within this superbubble, which might suggest the cosmic rays creating them .