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H.E.S.S. Collaboration detects gigantic particle accelerator spanning thousands of light years

A new paper by the H.E.S.S. collaboration, including DIAS scientists Prof. Felix Aharonian, Prof. Emeritus Luke Drury and Dr. Jonathan Mackey, is published in the journal Nature on 18th June 2020.

CenA figure from paper

Careful analysis of the H.E.S.S. observations showed that very high-energy gamma-ray emission from galaxies with a highly energetic nucleus is not concentrated in the region close to their central black hole but in fact extends over several thousand light-years along jets of plasma. This discovery shakes up current understanding of the maximum energy attainable by the particle acceleration processes.

The full press release from Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik can be viewed here.

The paper is titled “Resolving acceleration to very high energies along the Jet of Centaurus A” and can be accessed here:

DIAS is proud of our history of leading international research in Cosmic Ray and High-Energy Astrophysics, and is a founding member of the H.E.S.S. collaboration.

This is the 6th H.E.S.S. paper published in Nature since 2004. The H.E.S.S. project received the Descartes Prize in 2007, a prize given by the EU to honour scientific teams that have achieved outstanding scientific and technological results in trans-national projects. Prof. Aharonian received the 2010 Rossi Prize of the American Astronomical Society, together with Profs. Werner Hofmann and Heinrich Voelk, for outstanding contributions to imaging very-high-energy gamma rays with H.E.S.S.

DIAS astrophysicists Prof. Aharonian, Dr. Mackey, and Dr. Davit Zargaryan are actively working on analysing and interpreting sources of high-energy gamma rays with their international colleagues in the H.E.S.S. collaboration, as well as looking to the next generation of global observatories commencing operations and in planning stages.