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The Tibet ASgamma experiment, a China-Japan joint research project, has discovered the highest energy cosmic gamma rays ever observed from an astrophysical source—in this case, the Crab Nebula. The experiment detected gamma rays ranging from > 100 Teraelectron volts (TeV) (Fig.1) to an estimated 450 TeV. Previously, the highest gamma-ray energy ever observed was 75 TeV by the HEGRA Cherenkov telescope.
Researchers believe the most energetic of the gamma rays observed by the Tibet ASgamma experiment were produced by interaction between high-energy electrons and cosmic microwave background radiation, remnant radiation from the Big Bang.
Crab - Nebula - Supernova - Remnant - Constellation
The Crab Nebula is a famous supernova remnant in the constellation Taurus. It was first observed as a very bright supernova explosion in1054 AD (see Fig.1). It was noted in official histories of the Song dynasty in ancient China as well as in Meigetsuki, written by the 12th century Japanese poet Fujiwara no Teika. In the modern era, the Crab Nebula has been observed using various types of electromagnetic waves including radio and optical waves, X-rays and gamma rays.
The Tibet ASgamma experiment has been operating since 1990 in Tibet, China, at an altitude of 4300 meters above sea level. The China-Japan collaboration added new water Cherenkov-type muon detectors under the existing cosmic-ray detectors in 2014 (see Fig.2). These underground muon detectors suppress 99.92 percent of cosmic-ray background noise (see Fig.3). As a result, 24 gamma-ray candidates above 100 TeV have been detected from the Crab...
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