Astronomers have discovered the most distant of the currently known gamma-ray burst, according to a press release on the website of the Max Planck Society.
The radiation source is an active galactic nucleus 3C279, located at a distance of more than five billion light-years - about half the radius of the universe. The scientists published their discovery in the journal Science.
3C279 galaxy belongs to a class of galaxies with an active nucleus in the center of which there are supermassive black holes - their weight is billions of solar masses. Such galaxies emit in a wide wavelength range from the high-energy radio to gamma radiation.
Gamma radiation can oslablintsya under the influence of the so-called extragalactic background radiation (extragalactic background light), consisting of weak radiation objects in the Universe. The discovery of gamma-ray burst, the source of which is at a distance from the Earth, forces us to reassess existing theories about the density of the extragalactic background radiation. Astronomers obtained data suggest that it is less intense than expected so far.
Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute of Physics were able to register gamma-ray burst galaxy 3C279 with a telescope MAGIC (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov - large atmospheric gamma-ray telescope using the Cherenkov effect, Vavilov) located mountain Roque de los Muchachos, located on the island of La Palma Canary Islands. Telescope captures short light flashes that occur during the passage of gamma rays through the atmosphere.
Strong gamma radiation may extend a distance comparable to the diameter of the universe, virtually without distortion. Therefore, his study provide important information about the evolution of the universe.