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The Universe in 101 words: The 'Oh-My-God' Particle

16 Feb 2017, 00:19 UTC
The Universe in 101 words: The 'Oh-My-God' Particle
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It's possible the particle came from the kind of exotic objects that lurk in vast nebula, like this one.Can anything made of matter reach lightspeed? The 'oh-my-god' particle came damn close: A subatomic particle that struck Utah in 1991, it stunned the physicists at the University of Utah's cosmic ray observatory - it was travelling so close to lightspeed that light would only have gained a 1 cm lead in 200,000 years. No-one knows how it got such incredible speed, but it must have had a strange trip: So close to lightspeed time slows to a crawl and distances contract - the Universe would seem squashed along the direction of travel, and its whole history would pass in days. Above: Such energetic particles can cause cancer in astronauts.

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