Acceleration of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays by local supermassive black hole candidates
July 04, 2021
The origin and acceleration mechanism of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECR) with energy exceeding the GZK-cutoff limit remain unknown. It is often speculated that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) located at the centers of many galaxies can serve as possible sources of UHECR. This is also supported by recent observations of high-energy neutrinos from blazar, as neutrinos are the tracers of UHECR. In this contribution, we explore the capabilities of nearby SMBHs (located within 100 Mpc distance) to accelerate UHECR of certain energy and composition by the novel, ultra-efficient regime of the magnetic Penrose process, in which protons and ions are energized near SMBH by the ionization or decay of low-energy neutral particles, such as e.g. a hydrogen ionization or neutron beta-decay. Extreme conditions around SMBHs increase chances for engagement of the accelerated UHECR in the production of the cosmic ray ensembles (CRE), i.e. a group of correlated two or more cosmic ray particles, including photons with the same parent particle or a common primary interaction vertex. We discuss the unique signatures of UHECR and CRE produced around SMBHs and potentially observable with a global network of detectors, as proposed by the Cosmic-Ray Extremely Distributed Observatory – CREDO.
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