On October 15th 1991, an event which challenged our scientific understanding of our universe occurred.
The particle that was registered is now referred to as the “Oh My God Particle” after the statement blurted out upon detecting it. Under the night sky of Utah’s Cosmic Ray Detector, a particle was recorded going 99.99999999999999999999951% the speed of light. To put that in perspective, that is faster than even the highest recorded speed of a proton recorded in the Large Hadron Collider, which was 99.999999% the speed of light. It takes increasingly more energy to speed up a particle as it approaches the speed of light, making this difference quite significant. This means if we raced the OMG particle against a particle with plank energy ( 0.00000000000000000000049% speed of light), it would take 2.59×1010 the age of the universe for the particle with plank energy to gain 1 cm on the OMG particle.
So how do particles naturally accelerate to these speeds in space? Well that's the question many scientists today are asking. Physicist in Argentina, in the Pierre Auger Observatory, believed they were on the right track when they saw that these types of particles emitted from the hearts of certain galaxies, but over time the data showed this assertion did not hold water.
As of 2014, in the same state where the first particle was recorded, scientists working the Telescope Array, made up of 500 particle detectors found that these particles seemed to emanate from one portion of our night sky. This indicated a source much closer than previously thought. As of recently, no further findings have been published. Yet another space mystery we may have a chance of solving in my lifetime, but in the meantime we will just have to look up at the skies and wonder.
As always thanks for reading! - ThePeculiarParticle