Gamma Ray Raindrops


Five billion years ago, a great disturbance rocked a region near the monster black hole at the center of galaxy 3C 279. On 14 June, the burst of high-energy light produced by this event finally arrived at Earth, setting off detectors aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other satellites. This visualization shows gamma rays detected during 3C 279’s big flare by Fermi. Gamma rays are represented as expanding circles reminiscent of raindrops on water.The size of the circle and its color represent the energy of the gamma ray, with white lowest and magenta highest. The highest-energy gamma ray detected during this flare (52 billion electron volts) arrives near the end.

Video Credit: NASA