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.
From its perch on the edge of a dormant volcano in Mexico, HAWC