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On Active Galactic Nuclei as Sources of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays

Matthew George, IoA

We measure the correlation between sky coordinates of the Swift BAT catalogue of active galactic nuclei with the arrival directions of the highest energy cosmic rays detected by the Auger Observatory. The statistically complete, hard X-ray catalogue helps to distinguish between AGN and other source candidates that follow the distribution of local large-scale structure. The positions of the full catalogue are marginally uncorrelated with the cosmic ray arrival directions, but when weighted by their hard X-ray flux, AGN within 100 Mpc are correlated at a significance level of 98%. This correlation sharply decreases for sources beyond ~100 Mpc, suggestive of a GZK suppression. We discuss the implications for determining the mechanism that accelerates particles to these extreme energies in excess of 10^19 eV.