SOURCES OF GAMMA RAYS
Gamma rays have the smallest wavelengths and the most free energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. They are produced by the hottest and almost energetic objects in the universe, such as neutron stars and pulsars, supernova explosions, and regions around blackness holes. On Earth, gamma waves are generated past nuclear explosions, lightning, and the less dramatic activeness of radioactive decay.
DETECTING GAMMA RAYS
Different optical lite and x-rays, gamma rays cannot be captured and reflected past mirrors. Gamma-ray wavelengths are and then short that they tin laissez passer through the space within the atoms of a detector. Gamma-ray detectors typically contain densely packed crystal blocks. Every bit gamma rays pass through, they collide with electrons in the crystal. This process is called Compton scattering, wherein a gamma ray strikes an electron and loses energy, like to what happens when a cue ball strikes an eight ball. These collisions create charged particles that can be detected past the sensor.
GAMMA RAY BURSTS
Gamma-ray bursts are the well-nigh energetic and luminous electromagnetic events since the Large Bang and can release more energy in 10 seconds than our Lord’s day volition emit in its entire 10-billion-year expected lifetime! Gamma-ray astronomy presents unique opportunities to explore these exotic objects. By exploring the universe at these high energies, scientists can search for new physics, testing theories and performing experiments that are not possible in World-leap laboratories.
If we could meet gamma rays, the night sky would look strange and unfamiliar. The familiar view of constantly shining constellations would be replaced past always-changing bursts of loftier-energy gamma radiation that concluding fractions of a second to minutes, popping like cosmic flashbulbs, momentarily dominating the gamma-ray sky and so fading.
NASA’s Swift satellite recorded the gamma-ray boom caused by a blackness pigsty being born 12.viii billion light years abroad (below). This object is among the most afar objects ever detected.
Limerick OF PLANETS
Scientists can use gamma rays to decide the elements on other planets. The Mercury Surface, Space Surroundings, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) Gamma-Ray Spectrometer (GRS) can mensurate gamma rays emitted by the nuclei of atoms on planet Mercury’s surface that are struck by cosmic rays. When struck by cosmic rays, chemical elements in soils and rocks emit uniquely identifiable signatures of free energy in the form of gamma rays. These information tin help scientists look for geologically important elements such as hydrogen, magnesium, silicon, oxygen, atomic number 26, titanium, sodium, and calcium.
The gamma-ray spectrometer on NASA’s Mars Odyssey Orbiter detects and maps these signatures, such equally this map (below) showing hydrogen concentrations of Martian surface soils.
GAMMA RAY Heaven
Gamma rays besides stream from stars, supernovas, pulsars, and black hole accretion disks to wash our sky with gamma-ray light. These gamma-ray streams were imaged using NASA’due south Fermi gamma-ray space telescope to map out the Milky Manner galaxy by creating a full 360-caste view of the galaxy from our perspective here on World.
A Full-SPECTRUM IMAGE
The composite prototype below of the Cas A supernova remnant shows the full spectrum in one image. Gamma rays from Fermi are shown in magenta; ten-rays from the Chandra Observatory are blue and dark-green. The visible light data captured by the Hubble space telescope are displayed in yellow. Infrared data from the Spitzer space telescope are shown in red; and radio data from the Very Big Array are displayed in orange.
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National Aeronautics and Infinite Assistants, Scientific discipline Mission Advisers. (2010). Gamma Rays. Retrieved
[insert date – e.g. Baronial 10, 2016], from NASA Science website: http://science.nasa.gov/ems/12_gammarays
Science Mission Directorate. “Gamma Rays”
NASA Science. 2010. National Aeronautics and Space Assistants.
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