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In cosmic connectivity news, a hotspot of powerful, ultrahigh-energy particles may help scientists answer a century-old question: can we get a decent wi-fi signal in Ursa Major?

Gordon Thomson, of the University of Utah, worked with a team of scientists to capture 72 cosmic rays over a period of five years.  The signals were captured by the Telescope Array cosmic ray observatory, an isolated pavillion with a solar panel on the roof next to a telephone pole (above).  (Disclaimer: Based on the lack of reference points, this might just be an uncomfortable lounge chair.)

Thomson is the co-principle investigator for the Telescope Array observatory.  “Our main principle is ‘No findings, no grant money’.  Our co-principle is ‘Don’t be too specific.’  That’s where I come in.  I make sure that our findings are vague enough that they can’t be contradicted.”

Asked to describe his findings, Thomson said, “All we see is a blob in the sky, and inside this blob there is all sorts of stuff — various types of objects.”  He added,  “Now we know where to look,” referring to the blob of stuff and objects.  Continue reading