Cosmic rays from transrelativistic supernovae

Ran Budnik, Boaz Katz, Andrew MacFadyen, Eli Waxman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We derive constraints that must be satisfied by the sources of ∼10 15 to ∼1018eV cosmic rays, under the assumption that the sources are Galactic. We show that while these constraints are not satisfied by ordinary supernovae (SNe), which are believed to be the sources of ≲1015 eV cosmic rays, they may be satisfied by the recently discovered class of transrelativistic supernovae (TRSNe), which were observed in association with gamma-ray bursts. We define TRSNe as SNe that deposit a large fraction, fR > 10-2, of their kinetic energy in mildly relativistic, γβ > 1, ejecta. The high-velocity ejecta enable particle acceleration to ∼1018 eV, and the large value of f R (compared to fR ∼ 10-7 for ordinary SNe) ensures that if TRSNe produce the observed ∼1018 eV cosmic-ray flux, they do not overproduce the flux at lower energies. This, combined with the estimated rate and energy production of TRSNe, imply that Galactic TRSNe may be the sources of cosmic rays with energies up to ∼1018 eV.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)928-933
    Number of pages6
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


    • Acceleration of particles
    • Cosmic rays
    • Gamma rays: bursts
    • Supernova remnants
    • Supernovae: general

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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