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Fraser
2005-Jun-22, 06:41 PM
SUMMARY: Astronomers have discovered a binary system of a blue giant and a pulsar that operate as a natural particle accelerator, raising the energy levels of simple photons to some of the highest possible energies. The discovery was made by while watching how the pulsar periodically passes through disk of material ejected by the rapidly spinning blue giant. Each time the pulsar sweeps through this material, its intense magnetic field interacts with the ejected material and boosts photons from regular visible light into the range of super-high gamma rays which blast out in all directions. Some of this radiation interacts with our atmosphere, which is why we can detect it here on Earth.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/natural_particle_accelerator.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

piersdad
2005-Jun-22, 07:11 PM
wow
A case of research in particle acceleration on earth enables us to understand an effect occuring in a far away star system.
seeing this in nature then aids and confirms further research on earth.

Joff
2005-Jun-22, 10:05 PM
Do we have a link to either the paper or the group that undertook this research? The closest I could get was this High-Energy Astrophysics group page (http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/astrophysik/HEA/index.html) - which has Felix's name on anyway - perhaps there's something better a few links along/across ... :rolleyes:

Joff
2005-Jun-22, 10:10 PM
aha... here's an introduction to the HESS project (http://www.mpi-hd.mpg.de/hfm/HESS/HESS.html) in Namibia for gamma imaging...

wstevenbrown
2005-Jun-22, 10:57 PM
http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0506280

These guys are well worth watching. S

dragonmaster_us@hotmail.com
2005-Jun-22, 11:21 PM
Did the article actually say that the energy levels were raised enough to create protons?

antoniseb
2005-Jun-23, 02:30 AM
Originally posted by dragonmaster_us@hotmail.com@Jun 22 2005, 11:21 PM
Did the article actually say that the energy levels were raised enough to create protons?
I'm not sure if the article said it, but the energy levels are millions of times higher than the minimum required to create proton - anti-proton pairs. These are very energetic rays.

sam_lelime
2005-Jun-23, 02:41 AM
wow if space colonisation does become a reality places like these are fountains for free energy, they can be the futuristic mines for anti matter :) and energies particals.

Nereid
2005-Jun-26, 10:59 PM
Originally posted by sam_lelime@Jun 23 2005, 02:41 AM
wow if space colonisation does become a reality places like these are fountains for free energy, they can be the futuristic mines for anti matter :) and energies particals.
Not without some considerably more advanced methods of cooling the torrent of particles, and shielding from extraordinarily penetrating radiation!

Cool story Jeff. Not only does it show that nature can easily produce particle and photon energies far, far beyond our most souped-up particle accelerators here on Earth can - in quantities that boggle the mind - but it also shows that the next generation of telescopes (in various EM regimes, as well as neutrino and gravity wave ones) will likely make break-through contributions to particle physics. Who knows, they may even identify the lowest-energy denizens of the supersymmetric particle zoo, and move dark matter from the object of 'anti-mainstreamers' to neologisms.

The Near-Sighted Astronomer
2005-Jun-27, 12:14 AM
Thanks Nereid,

Once again i appreciate the extra depth of understanding forum posters bring to these stories. Keep them comments coming - there's a whole Universe of marvels out there and the more we wander the more we wonder...