Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

High Energy Mystery lurks at the Galactic Centre

22.09.2004


A mystery lurking at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy - an object radiating high-energy gamma rays - has been detected by an international team of astronomers. Their research, published today (September 22nd) in the Journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, was carried out using the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), an array of four telescopes, in Namibia, South-West Africa.

The Galactic Centre harbours a number of potential gamma-ray sources, including a supermassive black hole, remnants of supernova explosions and possibly an accumulation of exotic ‘dark matter’ particles, each of which should emit the radiation slightly differently. The radiation observed by the H.E.S.S. team comes from a region very near Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the centre of the galaxy. According to most theories of dark matter, it is too energetic to have been created by the annihilation of dark matter particles. The observed energy spectrum best fits theories of the source being a giant supernova explosion, which should produce a constant stream of radiation.

Dr. Paula Chadwick of the University of Durham, UK said, “We know that a giant supernova exploded in this region 10,000 years ago. Such an explosion could accelerate cosmic gamma rays to the high energies we have seen - a billion times more energy than the radiation used for X-rays in hospitals. But further observations will be needed to determine the exact source.”



Professor Ian Halliday, Chief Executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) which funds UK involvement in H.E.S.S. said; “Science continues to throw out the unexpected as we push back the frontiers of knowledge.” Halliday added “The centre of our Galaxy is a mysterious place, home to exotic phenomena such as a black hole and dark matter. Finding out which of these sources produced the gamma-rays will tell us a lot about the processes taking place in the very heart of the Milky Way.”

However, the team’s theory doesn’t fit with earlier results obtained by the Japanese /Australian CANGAROO instrument or the US Whipple instrument. Both of these have detected high-energy gamma rays from the Galactic Centre in the past (observations from 1995-2002), though not with the same precision as H.E.S.S, and they were unable to pinpoint the exact location as H.E.S.S. has now done, making it harder to deduce the source. These previous results have different characteristics to the H.E.S.S. observations. It is possible that the gamma-ray source at the Galactic Centre varies over the timescale of a year, suggesting that the source is in fact a variable object, such as the central black hole.

The H.E.S.S. team hopes to unravel the mystery with further observations of the Galactic Centre over the next year or two. The full array of four telescopes will be inaugurated on September 29th 2004, see the following url for further details.

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/hfm/HESS/public/HESS_broschuere_04_c.pdf
http://www.pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>