High-energy radiation coming to us from the depths of outer space, constantly “bombards” our planet, and in these cosmic rays, particles with such a high energy, which only particles dispersed in the most powerful accelerators possess, often enough. In addition, in the composition of cosmic radiation, there is an excess of positrons, particles, which are electron antipodes. Scientists at one time put forward several theories about the origin of the excess positrons, but studies in which observations were made of the nearest neutron star pulsars showed the inconsistency of existing theories and only deepened the level of mystery of this phenomenon. In other words, too much antimatter falls from the cosmos to Earth and no one knows why this happens.
We note that the excess of positrons in cosmic rays was first recorded in 2008 by the cosmic-ray detector PAMELA . To study this phenomenon, even a special high-altitude observatory HAWC (High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Gamma-ray Observatory) was built . The structure of this observatory, located in Mexico, includes a lot of metal tanks filled with clean water. When particles of cosmic rays pass through the water, cone-shaped flashes of light arise in it, which arise because of the difference in the speed of light in vacuum and in water due to the so-called Cherenkov effect.
Scientists who used a set of data collected by the HAWC observatory during previous observations, believed that the source of excess positrons could be two pulsars, Geminga and PSR B0656 + 14, located at a distance of the order of a thousand light years from the Earth. However, new data collected by the same HAWC observatory suggests the opposite. Electrically charged and light positrons will lose too much energy under the influence of magnetic fields encountered on the way from pulsars to the Earth.
Mathematical calculations and models compiled by scientists do not yet completely exclude the role of pulsars in the formation of excess positrons. However, even more facts indicate that sources of excess positrons can be still unknown to scientists processes in which, with a greater percentage of probability, mysterious dark matter takes part.
Here it should be noted that the study of two cosmic-ray streams that fall to Earth, passing through different regions of outer space with different conditions, allows for various types of interpretation of the collected data. But, regardless of the differences in interpretation, scientists believe that they will soon be able to solve the mystery of the excess positrons. “And the HAWC observatory will be exactly the instrument that will allow us to finally dot the” i “” – the scientists write.