From SLAC Today: “Supernova Remnant a Giant Particle Collider in Space”

August 21, 2012
Lori Ann White

Scientists from SLAC publishing research about colliding particles should come as no surprise; the lab has been accelerating particles for 50 years. But these SLAC researchers are astrophysicists, and their research was published in the Astrophysical Journal. The researchers, from the joint SLAC-Stanford Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), along with colleagues from France and Japan, looked at a supernova remnant located about 3,000 light years away and discovered what is best described as a particle collider in space.

The left panel shows the gamma-ray emission from SNR147 as seen by the Fermi-LAT, while the right panel shows emission for a Hydrogen line transmission in optical light. The numbered regions are to aid in comparison. Image source

Supernova remnants, giant clouds of dust and gas thrown off by a self-destructing star, are known to accelerate particles. They’re one source of the cosmic rays – in reality not rays, but super-accelerated charged particles like protons – that bombard Earth. But when the team analyzed several different observations of the supernova remnant SNR S147, including gamma-ray observations from the LAT instrument on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, they discovered something more than accelerating particles.

Wanna know what they saw? See the full article here.

Also check out “Gamma-ray Emitting Supernova Remnant Is a Giant Particle Collider In Space“, an article by Jack Singal in the KIPAC Collaboration Space.

SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.

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