We now know what is at the center of our own galaxy

AU astrophysicists research cosmic particle accelerators with unparalleled energyResearchers have been mapping the centre of our galaxy in very-high-energy gamma rays using these telescopes – the most sensitive of their kind – for over 10 years. The results were published in the journal Nature on 16 March 2016.The earth is constantly bombarded by high energy particles from space. Together these particles – protons, electrons and atomic nuclei – are known as cosmic radiation or cosmic rays. The question of which astrophysical sources produce this cosmic radiation has remained a mystery to researchers for over a century. The problem is that the particles are electrically charged and are therefore deflected in interstellar magnetic fields, making it impossible to identify the astrophysical sources that produce them based on their arrival direction. Fortunately, however, the particles interact with light and gas in the neighbourhood of their sources, producing very-high-energy gamma rays that travel to the earth in straight lines. 'These gamma rays allow us to visualise the sources of cosmic radiation in the sky,' says Christopher van Eldik, a professor at FAU's Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP) and deputy director of the H.E.S.S. collaboration. 

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