A NASA space telescope pinpoints a source of high-energy cosmic rays.
Scientists always suspected supernova remnants could speed up cosmic rays, the streams of charged particles that exist throughout space. Now they have proof. NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope caught two supernova remnants—IC 443 and W44—red-handed as they accelerated cosmic rays to near the speed of light. As cosmic rays travel through the Milky Way galaxy, magnetic fields scramble their paths. By the time the particles reach Earth, the tracks leading back to their source are so complex they’re completely untraceable. So scientists came up with an indirect method for identifying the origins of these particles: observing gamma-ray emissions created by the interaction of accelerated cosmic rays with clouds of interstellar gas. Watch the video to learn more.
Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Cover image courtesy of NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration, Tom Bash and John Fox/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF, JPL-Caltech/UCLA W44 image courtesy of NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration, NRAO/AUI, JPL-Caltech, ROSAT
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