Supersensitive detector can trace highest energy photons
SALT LAKE CITY — A new map of the sky charts the origins of some of the highest energy photons ever detected. Researchers from the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory released their first year of observations of gamma rays, ultrahigh-energy light particles blasted in our direction from some of the most extreme environments in the universe.
The researchers found 40 gamma-ray sources, a quarter of which hadn’t previously been identified, they reported April 18 at an American Physical Society meeting. The map is “revealing new information about nature’s particle accelerators,” said Brenda Dingus, a leader of the HAWC collaboration. These accelerators include the relics of dead stars, such as supernova remnants, and active galaxies that shoot out blasts of particles, known as blazars.