Highest energy cosmic ray recorded by scientists in Tibet
The most powerful particle of light ever observed has been detected by a cosmic ray observatory in Tibet, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The photon hit our planet with an energy burst as high as 450 TeV – or 150 trillion times brighter than the light visible to us from the sun.
The reason we were not blinded – and, indeed, are still alive – is because the lone photon travelled more than 4,500 light years from the Crab Nebula, and its energy was absorbed almost completely by the Earth’s atmosphere before it was detected by the joint China-Japan research team at the ASgamma array in Yangbajing, Tibet.
The project’s lead scientist Huang Jing said it was the first time such a high-energy level particle had been glimpsed, smashing the record of 75 TeV, held by the HEGRA Cherenkov telescope in Germany.