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  22-05-2006: MAGIC TELESCOPE FINDS OUT A HIGH-ENERGY GAMMA-RAY EMISSION: THEY ARE PRODUCED BY MICROQUASARS. THE ANNOUNCE ON SCIENCE  
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The observation through Magic telescope (Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging Cherenkov) of a periodic emission of high-energy gamma ray produced by microquasars was announced on May 18th on “Science on line” and it will be published on the June number. Microquasars are binary systems formed of an ordinary star, more massive than the Sun, and of a compact heavenly body (a neutron star or a black hole). The study provides new, important indications on microquasars, quasars (their older brothers) and gamma rays characteristics. Magic is the largest gamma-ray telescope ever built and it is the result of an international collaboration in which Italy is represented by Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics and by Padua Pisa, Siena, Trieste and Udine Universities.

In microquasrs the massive ordinary star and the compact heavenly body are bound one each other by the gravity force and they orbit around a common focus. When the two bodies are enough closed, the mutual tide effect can cause a sudden matter transfer from the ordinary star to the compact companion. A part of the gravitational energy released through this exchange is transformed in mechanical energy, producing particles spurt, “shoot” to a speed that is nearly close to the light speed and with a spectacular radiation emission. This last one is the radiation observed by Magic. Microquasars are supposed to be a smaller kind of quasars, in which one of the two elements, is formed not of a neutron star or a black hole, but of a supermassive black hole equal to millions of solar masses. Quasars emit particles and gamma radiations spurts as microquasars. For the firsts the formation and emission process requires very long times, in the order of years, for the seconds only few days: a period that permits to study the phenomenon easily.

Magic has studied one of the about 20 known microquasars, indicated with the contraction LS I +61 303, at different phases long their orbit. Gamma ray flashes have been detected clearly and it has been pointed out that they endure periodic variations connected with the movements of the two stars along their orbit. This indicates that gamma emission is directly connected with the interaction between the two stars the binary system is composed of. Furthermore Magic study induces to think that the high-energy gamma emission is a common characteristic for all microquasars.

“Magic result confirms one more time the great interest on gamma rays. They are the highest-energy radiation ever observed and they are generated during the most violent cosmic phenomena, such as supernovae explosions, gamma-ray flashes and quasars. Gamma rays provide direct and precious information about the processes that generated them. For this reason they are extremely important for the modern astroparticlephysics” explains Alessandro De Aangelis, Magic coordinator for Italy and coordinator of the physics of the experiment.

Magic is the result of a large international collaboration: this includes 130 researchers coming from Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Armenia, Finland, Bulgaria and United States. It is located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma Island, in the Canaries Archipelago. Its mirror has a diameter of 17 metres and it is able to detect gamma rays through short light flashes that are produced when gamma-rays cross the atmosphere (Cherenkov light).
Another Magic telescope is under construction at about 80 metres far form the first: Infn and the Italian Universities of Padua, Pisa, Siena, Trieste and Udine are responsible for the optics, the most large in the world and of part of the electronics.

For further information

http://magic.mppmu.mpg.de


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