The Crab Nebula is located thousands of light years away from us. The nebula is a huge size made of gas and dust in space. In the Crab Nebula, this gas and dust is visible towards the edge, which takes the shape of the crab’s legs. Researchers have found that it emits high-energy gamma rays that can be detected on Earth. It is believed that with this, the reason for the acceleration of particles in space to such a high energy can also be detected.
Second most energetic gamma ray
Researchers at the Large High-Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) in China have detected the second largest high-energy gamma ray, or photon, coming from here. The energy of this photon was 1.1 petaelectronvolts (PeV), which is equivalent to 11 lakh billion electronvolts. Until now, the most energetic photon was 1.4 PeV but its origin is not known.
How was this energy created?
It is believed that the Crab Nebula photon was caused by a high-energy neutron colliding with a background photon, during which its energy increased so much. Felix Aharonian from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany says gamma rays are nothing in themselves, but they give information about the electrons they emit from. So a lot of things can be detected on the basis of a gamma ray.
20 thousand times more energy than the earth’s accelerator
The research expressed the possibility that the energy of the electron that this photon collided with would have been 2.3PeV. This is 20,000 times more than any electron accelerator built on Earth. If we compare it with other gamma rays, then we will find that the Crab Nebula has more accelerated particles than we had estimated. If we find more such gamma rays, the reason for their acceleration will be known.