International astronomers recently detected pulsed gamma rays at the Crab Nebula with energy levels higher than pulsar models can recognize. Short for Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System, the VERITAS detected these emissions and their findings were published in Science on Friday.
According to university physicists, the gamma ray energies ranged between 100 and 400 billion electronvolts, with previous detections only picking up 25 electronvolts. Up until now, the Crab Pulsar was one of the best understood systems. About 6,500 light-years away from Earth, a massive star explosion in a supernova occurred in 1054 to give birth to the system.
Now, scientists are stumped. A pulsar is essentially what's left of the star's core after collapsing. Pulsars turn into spinning neutron stars and are really dense matters. Apparently, this new detection is more powerful than medical X-rays or visible light.
Because this has never been predicted in the past, the new finding could change the way we have come to understand gamma ray emissions. Researchers say that a lot more data is needed before they can make any conclusions about these observations.
The VERITAS is due for an upgrade next year. Teams behind this hope to make their instruments more sensitive in order to take the research to another level.