The Large Alpine Air Showers Observatory in Sichuan in southwestern China reported a photon with the highest energy ever observed, 1.4 petaelectronvolts (1.4 x 1015 eV). Such a discovery could lead to a serious change in the established ideas about our Galaxy, writes the press service of LHAASO.
The results of the study will also move towards unraveling the “mystery of the century” about the origin of cosmic radiation of such energies, scientists say.
The staff of the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said at a press conference that these ray sources are much more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider.
In 2019, the first ultra-high energy gamma ray source was discovered. After research at LHAASO, their number has grown to 12. The most likely candidates for the “parents” of this kind of radiation are young massive star clusters, supernova remnants and plerions (pulsars fed by nebulae).
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Detecting such rays has always been a big problem, scientists say, since their number is extremely small and extremely difficult to track due to the massive background of other, much more “audible” emissions.
LHAASO, with an area of about 145 hectares, is located at an altitude of 4410 m on the Haizi Mountain of the eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau near Daochen. Its cost is approximately $ 180 million. There are three underground pools with 12 Cherenkov photon detectors, one of them holds up to 100,000 tons of water.