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A New Population of Very High Energy Gamma-Ray Sources in the Milky Way

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Science  25 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5717, pp. 1938-1942
DOI: 10.1126/science.1108643

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Abstract

Very high energy γ-rays probe the long-standing mystery of the origin of cosmic rays. Produced in the interactions of accelerated particles in astrophysical objects, they can be used to image cosmic particle accelerators. A first sensitive survey of the inner part of the Milky Way with the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) reveals a population of eight previously unknown firmly detected sources of very high energy γ-rays. At least two have no known radio or x-ray counterpart and may be representative of a new class of “dark” nucleonic cosmic ray sources.

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