Seeing the High Energy Sky

Science fiction novels often try to help us understand what it might be like to see through the eyes of a being much different from ourselves. For example, our eyes only perceive a limited portion of the energy that bathes our planet all the time.

Take a look at this visualization of the Galactic Center through the eyes of the European Space Agency's Integral orbiting observatory, the most sensitive gamma-ray observatory ever launched. Today, it celebrates ten years of observations.


(Visualize the Galactic Center with ESA's Integral video)

The central region of our Milky Way, the Galactic Bulge, is a rich host of variable high-energy X-ray and gamma-ray sources. Thanks to regular observations by Integral over the last ten years, this dynamic environment has been charted in extensive detail, as revealed in this special anniversary video.

A number of these sources, which include X-ray binary systems with a black hole or a neutron star, pulsars and remnants of supernova explosions, only shine brightly for a limited period of time. In some cases, they appear as a sudden bright flash and disappear shortly afterwards, whereas others are more persistent.

The effect of this constantly changing environment gives the Galactic Bulge the appearance of a dramatic cosmic light show.

Inhabitants of Kardashev Type III civilizations can harness the full power of their entire galaxy; why shouldn't you be more aware of the exotic structures that surround us in our own galactic neighborhood? Sure, we Earthlings are only at about Kardashev 0.7, but we can dream, can't we?


(Integral science highlights)

One nearby black-hole binary, Cygnus X-1, is currently in the process of ripping a companion star to pieces and gorging on its gas.

Studying this extremely hot matter just a millisecond before it plunges into the jaws of the black hole, Integral has found that some of it might be making a high-speed getaway thanks to structured magnetic field lines acting as an escape tunnel.

High-speed escapes have also been seen at the Crab Nebula, the remains of a supernova explosion seen from Earth in 1054, and which hosts a pulsar at its heart.

Until Integral began studying these rapidly spinning neutron stars it was uncertain exactly how they accelerate particles to enormous energies exceeding those from even the most powerful man-made particle accelerators on Earth, like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

By studying the polarisation – alignment – of the waves of high-energy radiation originating from the Crab Nebula, Integral found that the radiation is strongly aligned with the rotation axis of the pulsar.

This implies that a significant fraction of the particles generating the intense radiation must originate from an extremely organised structure very close to the pulsar, perhaps even directly from the powerful jets beaming out from the spinning stellar core.

Via NanoPatentsAndInnovations.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/19/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'- Jack Williamson, 1941.

Tyson Says Asteroid Miners Will Be First Trillionaires
'...Come together here under the influence of their mutual gravitation, and formed a little metallic planet.'- Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.

Zap Space Debris With Telescope Laser On ISS
'... their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1978.

Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
Elon Musk and Spacex engineers will not be denied!

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

NASA's Robotic Mining Competition
''Dave,'[Powell] said. 'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot...'

Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
'What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat?'

L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'

LG Display Creates OLED Wallpaper
'A television that unrolled like a poster...'

Cool Foldable Mini-Quadcopter
'Eddie pocketed the bee cam...'

NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'

Cicada UAV Dropped In Swarms
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'

AI's Now Being Taught Anger
Actually the Prime Radiant was just a display device.

Cicret Interactive Skin Display Prototype
'A strip of readout skin on my wrist...'

Lily Camera Video Sport Selfie Drone
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'

Metal Composite Floats Your Boat
'A metal that was apparently as light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Six Terabyte Solid State Drive Just 2.5 Inches
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'

Israeli 'Food Replicator' Inspired By Star Trek
What flavor would you like?

Robotic Trash Can Wants Your Garbage
'The can pivoted on broad rubber treads and rolled toward her...'

Microbes To Terraform Mars?
'Terraform the little rock...'

NASA FINDER To The Rescue In Nepal
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.