Brazilian astrophysicists make the sharpest image of the sky in gamma rays

A team of four astrophysicists from the Black Holes Group at the University of So Paulo (USP) built a gamma-ray map of the sky. They claim to be the clearest that has ever been produced.

Gamma radiation or gamma ray is a type of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation usually produced by radioactive elements, subatomic processes such as the annihilation of a pair of psitrons and electron. This type of very energetic radiation is also produced in astrophysical phenomena of great importance.

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 of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences (IAG) at USP. from FAPESP, from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Capes) and a Research Productivity grant from the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

For the construction of the map, another The group’s scientist, Lucas Siconato, told an IAG-USP press officer that the group attributed the color red to high-energy gamma radiation, green to very high-energy gamma light, and blue to very high-energy gamma light. For comparison purposes, the radiation that appears in this image has energy between 100 million and 1 rail times that of visible light, and invisible to human eyes.

This allows That the image really works as a map of the most energetic sources of the sky and gives us information about what kind of emissions we have in each one of them using colors that our eyes can distinguish, said Douglas Carlos, member of the team and a fellow at FAPESP.

There are two important structures on the map: the first is the plane of our own galaxy, which appears in the central region of the image as a horizontal band and is quite bright. The second is the Fermi bubbles, which are also seen in the central region of the image, projecting above and below the plane of the Milky Way. They are visually characterized by a bluish color and are associated with some recent activity of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole located in the center of our galaxy.

For the construction of this map, astrophysicists used the observations from NASA’s Fermi Space Telescope. The telescope started its operations on June 2008 and continues to work, monitoring the sky at high energy.

Back to top button