In the March 25th 2005 issue of Science Magazine, the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) team of international astrophysicists, including UK astronomers from the University of Durham, report results of a first sensitive survey of the central part of our galaxy in very high energy (VHE) gamma-rays. Included among the new objects discovered are two ‘dark accelerators’ - mysterious objects that are emitting energetic particles, yet apparently have no optical or x-ray counterpart.
This survey reveals a total of eight new sources of VHE gamma-rays in the disc of our Galaxy, essentially doubling the number known at these energies. The results have pushed astronomy into a previously unknown domain, extending our knowledge of the Milky Way in a novel wavelength regime thereby opening a new window on our galaxy.
Gamma-rays are produced in extreme cosmic particle accelerators such as supernova explosions and provide a unique view of the high energy processes at work in the Milky Way. VHE gamma-ray astronomy is still a young field and H.E.S.S. is conducting the first sensitive survey at this energy range, finding previously unknown sources.
Julia Maddock | alfa
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