An ultra-strong particle accelerator can be hidden in the Crab Nebula

An ultra-strong particle accelerator can be hidden in the Crab Nebula

An ultra-strong particle accelerator can be hidden in the Crab Nebula. The new Chinese discovery may overturn classical physical theories.

The Crab Nebula, 6,500 light-years from Earth, is the remnant of a supernova explosion observed in 1054 by astronomers in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It is the first supernova remnant identified by modern astronomers whose history can be clearly traced.

The body is one of the few energy sources measured in all energy bands: radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma rays.

The discovery is based on observations made at China’s LHAASO (High Altitude Air Shower Observatory), the country’s leading science and technology infrastructure facility in Taoqing, southwest Sichuan Province.

A fictional image of a supernova explosionSource: Nature Astronomy

Brightness measurements indicate a very high-energy particle accelerator in the core region of the Crab Nebula. Its size is about one tenth the size of the solar system.

The accelerator is capable of activating electrons 20,000 times more than the largest man-made particle accelerator on Earth. With this, it reaches the theoretical limits of classical electrodynamics and perfect hydrodynamics, said Cao Chen, senior researcher at LHAASO.

Composite image of the Crab NebulaForrás: NASA, ESA, NRAO/AUI/NSF, G.Dubner (University of Buenos Aires)

The study, led by the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was presented in the scientific journal Science.

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