Source of powerful cosmic ray signals found beyond our Milky Way


Astronomers for the first time have managed to hunt down the source of three high-energy ray signals being emitted beyond our Milky Way. The hope is that this discovery might help us better understand the mysterious origins of deadly cosmic rays that flood the universe and bombard our solar system.

Cosmic rays are believed to be produced by some of the most violent events in the cosmos – like supernova explosions – and are a billion times more powerful than anything created in our supercolliders here on Earth. They constantly flood our solar system and appear to come from every direction in the universe.

So not surprisingly, finding their sources has been near impossible because these charged particles get bounced around in all directions in space by the magnetic fields they encounter as they fly across interstellar space. However, a team of astronomers has now found a way to help us in our hunt. It turns out cosmic rays do also produce a convenient tracer particle called gamma-rays, which don’t get deflected along their travels, and so by tracing back their journey, their origins can be be found much more easily.

In this new research, the newfound gamma-ray signals appear to be produced at prodigious rates by three different types of objects located within a single satellite galaxy of the Milky Way some 180,000 light years away from Earth known as the Large Magellanic Cloud.

In the newly-published study this week in the journal Science, researchers used the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) – a collection of four 13-meter telescopes located in the deserts of Namibia, Africa – to observe a region of our companion galaxy that is actively forming stars.

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

The article does mention periods of intense bombardment by cosmic radiation could have an impact on the climate, as the sun shields us from many cosmic radiation, but as the sun goes quiet, with fewer sunspots, more cosmic rays will reach the earth’s atmosphere, where some scientist think they cause the formation of more clouds, thus cooling the planet.  Stay tuned.  This will be an interesting story to follow.


Another bias in temperature measurements discovered

Watts Up With That?

SNOTEL-stations Map of SNOTEL-stations in the Western United States

From the “temperature bias only goes one way department” and the University of Montana:

Mountain system artificially inflates temperature increases at higher elevations

MISSOULA – In a recent study, University of Montana and Montana Climate Office researcher Jared Oyler found that while the western U.S. has warmed, recently observed warming in the mountains of the western U.S. likely is not as large as previously supposed.

His results, published Jan. 9 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, show that sensor changes have significantly biased temperature observations from the Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) station network.

More than 700 SNOTEL sites monitor temperature and snowpack across the mountainous western U.S. SNOTEL provides critical data for water supply forecasts. Researchers often use SNOTEL data to study mountain climate trends and impacts to mountain hydrology and ecology.

Oyler and his co-authors applied statistical techniques to account…

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Questions: What we do not know about the climate?

Citizen Scientist Willis Eschenbach is a prolific poster on climate issues at Watts Up With That. In a New Years post of reflection on where we are in climate science and where we need to go, Willis has posted a number questions; what we do not know now, or know in the future, with a list of his most important questions. For those of you who are not regular WUWT reader I am posting Willis questions for you thoughts and comments

Willis writes:

With that as a prologue, let me give at least a partial list of what we don’t know about the climate. Now, bear in mind that I’m not saying we don’t have theories about any number of these questions. Everyone has theories about some or all of these unanswered puzzles, including myself. But there is no agreement, no so-called “consensus”, about the following matters:


• Why the earth has been generally cooling since we came out of the last ice age.

• Why the earth generally cooled from earlier in the millennium to the “Little Ice Age” in the 1600-1700s

• Why the earth generally warmed from the “Little Ice Age” in the 1600-1700s to the present.

• Why the warming of 1910-1940 was as large and as fast as the warming of 1975-1998.

• Why the warming that started in 1975 plateaued in the last couple decades.

• What the current generation of climate models are missing that made them all wrong about the current plateau.

• Why there has been no increase in extreme weather events despite a couple of centuries of warming.

• Why the albedo of the northern hemisphere is the same as the albedo of the southern hemisphere, year after year, despite radically different amounts of ocean and land in the two hemispheres.

• Why there has been no acceleration of sea level rise despite numerous predictions that it would occur.


• Whether the earth will warm over the next decade.

• Whether the earth will warm over the next century.

• What the climate of 2050 or 2100 will be like. Wetter? More windy? More droughts? Calmer? More hurricanes? Fewer tornadoes? We don’t have a clue.

• Whether a couple of degrees of warming would be a net bonus, a net loss, or a catastrophic Thermageddon.

• Whether predicting future climate is a “boundary problem”.

• If predicting future climate is a boundary problem, what the boundaries might be and what their future values might be.

• Whether the evolution of the climate is predictable even in theory over anything but the short term.


• Why the system is so stable in the very short term (decadal), e.g. the net top-of-atmosphere (TOA) imbalance hasn’t varied by much more than half a watt per square metre over the last 14 years of the CERES records.

• Why the system is so stable in the short term (centuries), e.g. a variation in surface temperature of only ± 0.1% over the 20th century.

• Why the system is so stable in the longer term (millennia), e.g. a variation in surface temperature of only ± 0.5% over the Holocene.

• Why the system is so stable in the even longer term (a million years), e.g. a variation in surface temperature over the period of the ice ages of only ± 1% over the last million years.

• Why the system is so stable in the longest term (a half billion years), e.g. the sun has increased in strength by 5% over that period, an increase of about 13 W/m2. According to the accepted theory such an increase in forcing should have led to a surface temperature increase of 13°C over that period … why didn’t that increase happen.

• Why we are no closer to getting a value for the so-called “climate sensitivity” than we were thirty years ago. After uncountable hours of human labor, after huge increases in the size and complexity of our models, after unprecedented increases in computer power, after millions and millions of dollars spent on the problem, the error bounds on the answer have not narrowed at all … why not?

Your thoughts on the these questions by  Citizen Scientist Willis Eschenbach are most welcome, here or at WUWT.