Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 279-288

First online:

Extragalactic cosmic rays and the galactic magnetic field

  • E. N. ParkerAffiliated withDept. of Physics, Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago

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The origin and behavior of cosmic rays in the Galaxy depends crucially upon whether the galactic magnetic field has a closed topology, as does the field of Earth, or whether a major fraction of the lines of force connect into extragalactic space. If the latter, then cosmic rays could be of extragalactic origin, or they could be of galactic origin, detained in the Galaxy by the scattering offered by hydromagnetic waves, etc. If, on the other hand, the field is largely closed, then cosmic rays cannot be of extragalactic origin (at least below 1016 eV). They must be of galactic origin and escape because their collective pressure inflates the galactic field and they push their way out.

This paper examines the structure of a galactic field that opens initially into intergalactic space and, with the inclusion of turbulent diffusion, finds no possibility for maintaining a significant magnetic connection with an extragalactic field. Unless some mechanism can be found, we are forced to the conclusion that the field is closed, that cosmic rays are of galactic origin, and that cosmic rays escape from the Galaxy only by pushing their way out.