The Oh-My-God Particle 32 Years Later

Thirty-two years ago today, The University of Utah first observed the OMG particle at an experimental observatory called the Fly’s Eye. Why is it so special?

While the Oh-My-God particle still remains the most energetic cosmic ray ever detected, a handful of others in the off-the-scales range have been observed in the years since, confirming that it wasn’t a miscalculation or instrumentation failure, but in fact a real event. This is why 1,600 giant water-filled tanks have been installed in a grid formation across 3,000 square kilometers of the arid Mendoza region of Argentina. These are the specialized detectors of the Pierre Auger Observatory, forming an array designed to capture evidence of other extremely high-energy cosmic rays. “The quest for identifying the sources of the most energetic particles in the Universe continues,” says Carsten Rott, chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the U. “[But] not only at the Auger detector in Argentina, but also right here in Utah with the Telescope Array experiment.”

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