A joint research team made up of Chinese and Japanese scientists has discovered the highest energy cosmic gamma rays ever observed from an observatory in Tibet, opening a new window to explore the extreme universe.
The Tibet ASgamma experiment, a China-Japan joint research project located about 4.3 kilometers above sea level on Tibet autonomous region, recently spotted two dozen photons with energies above 100 trillion electron volts (TeV), one of which even registered a staggering 450 TeV.
The energy of the gamma rays is as high as 450 TeV, equivalent to 45 billion times of the energy of X-rays for medical diagnosis, researchers from the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said at a press conference.
These finds represent the first measurements of high energy photons over 100 TeV and the highest ever recorded, said Huang Jing, the spokesperson for the project and a researcher from the Institute of High Energy Physics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Scientists believe that those energetic gamma rays were from the Crab Nebula, a famous supernova remnant in the constellation Taurus, about 6,500 light years away from Earth.
Previously, the highest energy ever observed for a gamma-ray photon was 75 TeV, which was detected by the HEGRA Cherenkov telescope in Germany.