Space Telescope Science Institute / NASA / ESA / J. Hester / A. Loll (Arizona State University)
9455914] Around 7,500 years ago, a huge stellar explosion occurred in the Perseus Arm of the Milky Way some 6,500 light years from Earth. Astronomers first saw this explosion in the ancient sky back in 1054 as a point of light which slowly faded away, leaving behind a huge cloud of gas and dust. The remnants can now be seen as the "Crab Nebula" and deep within the heart of the cloud.
It recently blasted Earth astrophysical source.
Published in Physical Review Letters on July 29, astronomers have detailed the detection of this mega energy blast located at 4,300 meters (14,000 feet) above sea level, in the mountains of Tibet. As it happens, the incredibly dense, spinning neutron star at the bottom of the mountain, the Tibet Air Shower Array, as it's known, is made of a series of underground pools.
Center of the Crab Nebula has the power necessary to accelerate the cosmic particles and fling them at the Earth. However, they are breaking through a rainbow of subatomic particles. That's what the Tibet Air Shower Array, with its 600 plus detectors, is capable of observing.
Using some complex physics, you can work backward – pinpointing where the particles came from in the sky and just how much they energy
The Japanese and Chinese researchers working on the Earth have been whacked by some incredibly high energy gamma rays, exceeding 100 trillion electronvolts (100 TeV). And not just once. The team detected these events 24 times.
What does that number mean? Well, electronvolts are a measure of energy. A flying mosquito has about 1 TeV of kinetic energy, meaning something like the Large Hadron Collider, which accelerates particles and then smashes them together, operates at about 14 TeV.
Another group of scientists has recently submitted findings to pre-publication database arXiv, finding high energy gamma rays in excess of 100 TeV using the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory in Mexico.
What does this tell us about the Crab Nebula? Gamma rays for just as long. However, there is more to it than that. In order to help explain the origins of these super-powered cosmic rays.