Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 08:43 AM EDT

Ways on How Particles Travel Nearly the Speed of Light

Jun 03, 2019 12:11 AM EDT

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Speed of Light
(Photo : Pixabay)

In the field of science, it is a common knowledge that nothing can ever surpass the speed of light, as what Albert Einstein theory of special relativity suggests. However, only small particles can get near the speed of light.

On May 29, 1919, after confirming Einstein's work, NASA offered ways in accelerating particles in an amazing speed including electromagnetic field, magnetic explosion, and wave-particle interactions. These fundamental ways can be observed in the sun. It's a kind of real laboratory that allows scientists to even watch how nuclear reactions occur. Electromagnetic and magnetic fields have the ability to accelerate particles near the speed of light by electric charges. Examples, where this process can be done, are the particle accelerator at the Department of Energy Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Large Hadun Collides at the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The accelerators are able to pulse electromagnetic fields. Also, the particles are often crashed to find out what kind of energy they release.

Above the sun interface is a tangle of magnetic fields. The magnetic field can send plums of solar material off the surface when it intersects and snaps. This kind of interaction also gives the particles its charge, according to Space.

"When tension between the crossed line becomes too great, the lines explosively snap and realign in a process known as "magnetic reconnection"," explained NASA officials.

"The rapid change in a region's magnetic field creates electric fields, which causes all the attendant charged particles to be flung away at high speeds," they explained. The magnetic reconnection also happens to planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. The earth's magnetic field can be measured using NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission with the aid of four spacecrafts. Their results indicate that the magnetic field will help in understanding how particles in the universe accelerate. For instance, a magnetic connection can be observed with the solar wind specifically the constant stream of charged particles emitted by the sun into the solar system.

Aside from the magnetic reconnection, other factors which are also capable of accelerating particles near the speed of light is the wave-particle interactions. The wave-particle interaction phenomena are driven when electromagnetic waves collide. "When electromagnetic waves collide, their fields can become compressed. Charged particles bouncing back and forth between the waves can gain energy similar to a ball bouncing between two merging walls," stated NASA's officials.

Another factor which can create an environment for a wave-particle interaction is the explosion of stars like supernovas. According to scientists, when a star explodes, it creates a blast wave shell of hot, dense compressed gas that can zoom away at a great speed from the stellar core. The process ejects high energy cosmic rays which are composed of particles at velocities close to the speed of light.

Reference: Elizabeth Howell, 3 ways fundamental particles travel at (nearly) the speed of light retrieved from space.com

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