A very large research team working with several institutions in China and Japan has measured the highest ever measured energy photon. In their article, published in the journal Physical Review Letters the group describes their study of data from the Tibet Air Shower Gamma Collaboration and what they found.
The Tibet Air Shower Gamma Collaboration is an observatory on the Tibetan Plateau and the people who lead it. It consists of 600 particle detectors built on a 65,000 square meter site. The goal is to discover subatomic particles from space. There, the detectors observe the debris of photons that collide with particles in the Earth's atmosphere and with cosmic rays, which are mainly protons and nuclei. The team members focused on this new effort on photons that reach the earth from far away places. To measure them, the researchers excluded muon detections and left only particles associated with photon collisions. The researchers were able to calculate the energy of a particular photon from the particles it had hit.
The researchers reported that they found 24 photon-triggered showers with photon energies in excess of 1
The researchers also used the data from the collaboration to track the paths of the photons, and found that they came from the Crab Nebula, the remains of a supernova that exploded in 1054 AD. The Crab Nebula is located in the Perseus arm of the Milky Way, about 6,500 light-years away.
The research team has studied high-energy photons that find their way to Earth to understand why they are doing so much energy. Current theory suggests that photons draw their energy from other high-energy particles through inverse Compton scattering, where photons absorb the energy of high-energy particles, for example, colliding during supernovae. It is believed that the photons themselves were generated by processes involved in the Big Bang.
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M. Amenomori et al. First evidence of photons with energy above 100 TeV from an astrophysical source, Physical Review Letters (2019). journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/… 8830ab038fcada76d198,
ArXive: 1906.05521v1 [astro-ph.HE]: arxiv.org/abs/1906.05521
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The Highest Energy Photons Ever Received by the Crab Nebula (2019, June 26)
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