Brazilian astrophysicists make the sharpest image of the sky in gamma rays – 8/5/2021 – Science

A team of four astrophysicists from the Black Holes Group at the University of São Paulo (USP) created a gamma-ray sky map. They claim to be the hottest ever.

Gamma radiation, or gamma radiation, is a type of high frequency electromagnetic radiation that is usually generated by radioactive elements, subatomic processes such as the annihilation of a positron-electron pair. This type of very high-energy radiation is also of great importance in astrophysical phenomena.

“Gamma rays are the type of light with the highest energies that we can find in the universe,” explains Raniere Menezes, one of the scientists involved in the construction of this image, in an interview with the press office of the Institute for Astronomy. Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG) from the USP.

The work is led by Professor Rodrigo Nemmen of IAG-USP and was funded by FAPESP, the Coordination for University Staff Improvement (Capes), and a research productivity grant from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

For the creation of the map, another scientist in the group, Lucas Siconato, told the IAG-USP press office that “the group ascribed the red color to the high-energy gamma radiation, the green color to the very high-energy” gamma light and blue for very high-energy gamma light. For comparison purposes, the radiation that appears in this picture has an energy between 100 million and 1 billion times that of visible light and is invisible to the human eye. “

“This allows the image to really act as a map of the most energetic sources in the sky, and gives us information about what kind of emissions we have in each one by using colors that our eyes can distinguish,” said Douglas Carlos, Associate and Fellow at Fapesp .

There are two important structures on the map: The first of these is the plane of our own galaxy, which appears as a very bright horizontal band in the central area of ​​the image. The second are the Fermi bubbles, which can also be seen in the central area of ​​the image and project above and below the plane of the Milky Way. Visually, they are bluish in color and have been associated with some recent activity by Sagittarius A *, the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

To create this map, astrophysicists used observations from NASA’s Fermi Space Telescope. The telescope began operating on June 11, 2008 and continues to function by monitoring the sky with high energy.

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