The Gamma Ray Sky

Gamma Ray Sky


The whole sky seen in the light of gamma rays. The most prominent feature is the bright band of diffuse glow along the map’s centre, which marks the central plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Most of the gamma rays are produced when energetic particles, accelerated in the shock waves of exploding stars, collide with gas atoms in the space between the stars. Beyond our own galaxy, most of the bright spots come from active galaxies that have supermassive black holes at their heart. Material falling toward the black hole gets heated to incredible temperatures, making it glow in gamma ray light. This image is a five-year summary of data collected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma Ray Telescope which has been orbiting Earth since 2008.

Image © NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration


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