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Science. 2011 Feb 11;331(6018):739-42. doi: 10.1126/science.1199705. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Gamma-ray flares from the Crab Nebula.

Abdo AA1, Ackermann M, Ajello M, Allafort A, Baldini L, Ballet J, Barbiellini G, Bastieri D, Bechtol K, Bellazzini R, Berenji B, Blandford RD, Bloom ED, Bonamente E, Borgland AW, Bouvier A, Brandt TJ, Bregeon J, Brez A, Brigida M, Bruel P, Buehler R, Buson S, Caliandro GA, Cameron RA, Cannon A, Caraveo PA, Casandjian JM, Çelik Ö, Charles E, Chekhtman A, Cheung CC, Chiang J, Ciprini S, Claus R, Cohen-Tanugi J, Costamante L, Cutini S, D'Ammando F, Dermer CD, de Angelis A, de Luca A, de Palma F, Digel SW, do Couto e Silva E, Drell PS, Drlica-Wagner A, Dubois R, Dumora D, Favuzzi C, Fegan SJ, Ferrara EC, Focke WB, Fortin P, Frailis M, Fukazawa Y, Funk S, Fusco P, Gargano F, Gasparrini D, Gehrels N, Germani S, Giglietto N, Giordano F, Giroletti M, Glanzman T, Godfrey G, Grenier IA, Grondin MH, Grove JE, Guiriec S, Hadasch D, Hanabata Y, Harding AK, Hayashi K, Hayashida M, Hays E, Horan D, Itoh R, Jóhannesson G, Johnson AS, Johnson TJ, Khangulyan D, Kamae T, Katagiri H, Kataoka J, Kerr M, Knödlseder J, Kuss M, Lande J, Latronico L, Lee SH, Lemoine-Goumard M, Longo F, Loparco F, Lubrano P, Madejski GM, Makeev A, Marelli M, Mazziotta MN, McEnery JE, Michelson PF, Mitthumsiri W, Mizuno T, Moiseev AA, Monte C, Monzani ME, Morselli A, Moskalenko IV, Murgia S, Nakamori T, Naumann-Godo M, Nolan PL, Norris JP, Nuss E, Ohsugi T, Okumura A, Omodei N, Ormes JF, Ozaki M, Paneque D, Parent D, Pelassa V, Pepe M, Pesce-Rollins M, Pierbattista M, Piron F, Porter TA, Rainò S, Rando R, Ray PS, Razzano M, Reimer A, Reimer O, Reposeur T, Ritz S, Romani RW, Sadrozinski HF, Sanchez D, Saz Parkinson PM, Scargle JD, Schalk TL, Sgrò C, Siskind EJ, Smith PD, Spandre G, Spinelli P, Strickman MS, Suson DJ, Takahashi H, Takahashi T, Tanaka T, Thayer JB, Thompson DJ, Tibaldo L, Torres DF, Tosti G, Tramacere A, Troja E, Uchiyama Y, Vandenbroucke J, Vasileiou V, Vianello G, Vitale V, Wang P, Wood KS, Yang Z, Ziegler M.

Author information

1
National Research Council Research Associate, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC 20001, USA.

Abstract

A young and energetic pulsar powers the well-known Crab Nebula. Here, we describe two separate gamma-ray (photon energy greater than 100 mega-electron volts) flares from this source detected by the Large Area Telescope on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The first flare occurred in February 2009 and lasted approximately 16 days. The second flare was detected in September 2010 and lasted approximately 4 days. During these outbursts, the gamma-ray flux from the nebula increased by factors of four and six, respectively. The brevity of the flares implies that the gamma rays were emitted via synchrotron radiation from peta-electron-volt (10(15) electron volts) electrons in a region smaller than 1.4 × 10(-2) parsecs. These are the highest-energy particles that can be associated with a discrete astronomical source, and they pose challenges to particle acceleration theory.

PMID:
21212321
DOI:
10.1126/science.1199705
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