Laurent, Philippe APC Laboratory, Paris, France.
Last reviewed:February 2019
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- Astronomical limitations
- Instrumental limitations
- Detection of gamma-ray photons
- Stellar Sources
- Neutron stars and stellar black holes
- Other Galactic Sources
- Cosmic ray-induced interstellar emission
- Galactic core
- Extragalactic Gamma-Ray Sources
- Gamma-ray bursts
- Active galactic nuclei
- Cosmic background radiation
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of gamma rays of cosmic origin. Gamma rays are the highest energy form of light. They comprise a vast spectral domain extending from an energy of 0.01 MeV (megaelectronvolts, corresponding to a wavelength of 10−10 m, the adopted boundary between x-ray and gamma-ray photons), to 1011 MeV (10−23 m), an experimental barrier imposed by the extreme scarcity of ultrahigh-energy photons. Many astrophysical processes produce gamma rays, and those phenomena that do so in abundance rank among the most powerful events witnessed in the universe (Fig. 1). See also: Electronvolt; Gamma rays; High-energy astrophysics; Light; Photon; X-ray astronomy; X-rays
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