How to make a gamma ray
A series of animations showing how gamma rays can be created through various particle interactions.
Pion production and decay animation. A proton travelling to the speed of light strikes a slower-moving proton. The protons survive the collision, but their interaction creates an unstable particle — a pion — with only 14 percent of the proton's mass. In 10 millionths of a billionth of a second, the pion decays into a pair of gamma-ray photons.
Inverse Compton scattering animation. An electron travelling at close the speed of light has a head-on collision with a lower-energy photon (from microwave to ultraviolet). The photon picks up energy from the electron and becomes a gamma ray.
Pair production animation. A gamma ray grazes an atom and interacts with it. The reaction annihilates the gamma-ray photon and creates a matter/antimatter pair of an electron and a positron.
Electron bremsstrahlung animation. An electron traveling close to the speed of light is deflected by the electric field of an atomic nucleus. It emits gamma rays as its path bends.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
MissionsThis visualization is related to the following missions:
SeriesThis visualization can be found in the following series:
TapesThis visualization originally appeared on the following tapes:
Fermi Gamma Ray Bubbles
Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 5:00AM
Produced by - Robert Crippen