Tracking the Riddle of Cosmic Gamma Rays

Aug 23, 2005
the

First simultaneous observation of a gamma-ray burst in the X-ray and in the very high energy gamma ray band.For the first time a gamma-ray burst (GRB) has been observed simultaneously in the X-ray and in the very high energy gamma ray band. The MAGIC telescope at La Palma, Canary Islands, observed the enigmatic source GRB050713A, a long duration gamma-ray burst, only 40 seconds after the explosion, at photon energies above 175 GeV.

The puzzling nature of gamma-ray bursts is still not fully understood. Sometimes, GRBs are accompanied by photons 10 billion times more energetic than visible light, lasting typically less than a few tens of seconds. They are among the most distant and luminous sources in the Universe.

The capability of rapid tracking of the MAGIC telescope allowed the operators to start observing the source 20 seconds after the alert was given by the Swift satellite, which is in the Gamma ray bursts Coordinates Network, when the burst was still active in the X-ray range.

The first look at the MAGIC data did not reveal strong gamma ray emissions above 175GeV. The flux limit derived at very high energies by MAGIC is extremely low, 2-3 orders of magnitude lower than the extrapolation from lower energies. A detailed analysis is in progress. The upper limit for the flux of energetic gamma rays is consistent with the expected flux of a GRB at high red-shift, strongly attenuated by cosmological pair production. These observations were reported at the 29th International Cosmic Ray Conference which was held on August 3-10 in Pune, India

With its 240 square meters surface, MAGIC is the largest telescope in the world dedicated to the detection of gamma rays. It is managed by a collaboration of 17 institutes from Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, USA, Poland, Bulgaria and Armenia. The Gamma ray bursts Coordinates Network, managed by NASA, can distribute locations of GRBs detected by spacecrafts (Swift, Hete, Integral, Ipn, etc.) and reports of follow-up observations made by ground-based and space-based optical, radio, and x-ray observers.

Source: Max Planck Institute of Physics

Explore further: There's a crack forming on Rosetta's 67P: Is it breaking up?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Graphene brings quantum effects to electronic circuits

24 minutes ago

Research by scientists attached to the EC's Graphene Flagship has revealed a superfluid phase in ultra-low temperature 2D materials, creating the potential for electronic devices which dissipate very little ...

Review: New TV tech focuses on better picture

54 minutes ago

It's taken them a while to get there, but TV makers now seem to think that the way to improve the boob tube - and sell more sets at higher prices - is by having it display a better-looking picture.

Recommended for you

Image: Jupiter's cratered moon, Callisto

11 minutes ago

The speckled object depicted here is Callisto, Jupiter's second largest moon. This image was taken in May 2001 by NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which studied Jupiter and its moons from 1995 until 2003.

Helicopter could be 'scout' for Mars rovers

17 minutes ago

Getting around on Mars is tricky business. Each NASA rover has delivered a wealth of information about the history and composition of the Red Planet, but a rover's vision is limited by the view of onboard ...

Spacecraft Integral manoeuvres for the future

2 hours ago

Since 2002, ESA's Integral spacecraft has been observing some of the most violent events in the Universe, including gamma-ray bursts and black holes. While it still has years of life ahead, its fuel will ...

Huge asteroid 2004 BL86 to fly by Earth

2 hours ago

Asteroid 2004 BL86, slated to swoosh by Earth on Jan. 26, is the largest known body to pass near our home planet until 2027. But there's no need to panic as the astronomers estimate that the 500 meters-wide ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.