Detection of TeV emission from the Galactic Center
Credit: K. Kosack et al., 2004, The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 608, pg. L97

The Upper End of the Beast

Lurking at the heart of our own Milky Way Galaxy is a monstrous supermassive black hole. But unlike the monsters in other galaxies, our central black hole is rather shy. Evidently it's not a very voracious eater (at least not at the present time) so it does not emit lots of high energy radiation, which is usually a dead giveaway of the presence of a supermassive black hole. Astronomers have found what they believe to be the lair of this beast, a strange region in the center of our Galaxy named Sgr A*. Now for the first time, extremely high energy gamma-rays have been detected from our central monster. The image above shows an image of ultra-high energy gamma-ray emission from Sgr A*, as detected by the Whipple gamma-ray telescope. The bright spot in the center shows the ultra-high energy gamma-rays coming from Sgr A*. Now astronomers have to figure out how our lazy monster produces such high energy gamma-rays; perhaps they arise from the annihilation of strange dark matter?

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:29 EDT