Monday, October 17, 2011



 Gamma rays are by their very nature heralds of great energy and violence. They are a super-energetic form of light produced by sources such as black holes and massive exploding stars. Gamma-rays are so energetic that ordinary lenses and mirrors do not work. As a result, gamma-ray telescopes can't always get a sharp enough focus to determine exactly where the sources are.

For two thirds of the new catalog's sources the Fermi scientists can, with at least reasonable certainty, locate a known gamma ray-producing object*, such as a pulsar or blazar, in the vicinity the gamma-rays are coming from. But the remaining third – the "mystery sources" -- have the researchers stumped, at least for now. And they are the most tantalizing.

Be sure to click the picture for the great video.
600 Mysteries (collide, 200px)
Nearly 600 sources in the latest Fermi catalog are unidentified.
"Some of the mystery sources could be clouds of dark matter – something that's never been seen before," speculates Thompson.

About 85% of the gravitational mass of the universe is dark matter. The stuff we see makes up the rest. Dark matter is something that pulls on things with the force of its gravity but can't be detected in any other way. It doesn't shine – doesn't emit or scatter light – hence the adjective "dark."
Astronomers cannot detect dark matter directly using optical or radio telescopes. But dark matter just might shine in gamma rays.


Sue Comments:
The above article caught my attention, and I am not quite sure why. It think it was the mention of Gamma Rays and the "unidentified" sources of their emission. COOL! I want to go to an "unidentified source." How about you?