The Crab Nebula shocked astronomers


13/05/2011

The Crab Nebula was seriously surprised astronomers. They registered therein unprecedented emission of gamma rays, which are very light with high energy in the universe.

The cause of the April 12 such a burst of gamma radiation, as described in the third Fermi Symposium in Rome, is still not clear.

These data indicate that the source of radiation from this famous nebula is a pulsar, which was formed as a result of a supernova explosion.

Gamma radiation lasted six days, reaching a level that is 30 times higher than normal, changing from hour to hour.

Although the sky full of light the entire range of the spectrum, the Fermi space observatory measures only the most active light: gamma rays.

This light is emitted from the intensive processes in the most extreme corners of the universe.

The Crab Nebula is composed mainly of supernova remnants. Her explosion was seen on Earth in 1054.

According to the head of the Institute of cosmology and astrophysics behalf Kavli, Roger Blandford, none of the components of the nebula could be the source of such radiation.

"The source of the gamma rays of high energy, must be located somewhere else," - he said.

During the emission of gamma-ray energy reaches more than 100 million electron volts. Thus, each portion of the light, or photon, carries tens of millions more energy than visible light to us.

Radiation registered in this nebula, five times more intense than those that have been discovered before.

"The object that invests almost all its energy into gamma-rays - this is an unusual phenomenon," - said the researcher from the Kavli Institute, Rolf Buhler. "Before us is a mystery, to the unraveling of which can take several years."

Fermi Space Telescope was launched into orbit in 2008. It was named after Enrico Fermi, the great Italian-born American physicist who developed the first nuclear reactor and won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1938 for his contributions to the study of radioactivity.

Original: BBC


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