Jet Shockwaves Produce Gamma Rays

November 21, 2013

Theorists believe that GRB jets produce gamma rays by two processes involving shock waves. Shells of material within the jet move at different speeds and collide, generating internal shock waves that result in low-energy (million electron volt, or MeV) gamma rays. As the leading edge of the jet interacts with its environment, it generates an external shock wave that results in the production of high-energy (billion electron volt, or GeV) gamma rays. Artist’s rendering.

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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