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NASAs Fermi Sees No Gamma Rays From Nearby Supernova [Video]

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Observations of SN 2023ixf in 2023 led to surprising findings regarding cosmic ray production by supernovae, with potential implications for understanding cosmic ray origins and acceleration mechanisms.

In 2023, a nearby supernova offered astrophysicists an excellent opportunity to test ideas about how these types of explosions boost particles, called cosmic rays, to near light-speed. But surprisingly, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected none of the high-energy gamma-ray light those particles should produce.

On May 18, 2023, a supernova erupted in the nearby Pinwheel galaxy (Messier 101), located about 22 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. The event, named SN 2023ixf, is the most luminous nearby supernova discovered since Fermi launched in 2008.

Unanticipated Results From Fermi Telescope

“Astrophysicists previously estimated that supernovae convert about 10% of their total energy into cosmic ray acceleration,” said Guillem Martí-Devesa, a researcher at the University of Trieste in Italy. “But we have never observed this process directly. With the new observations …

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