A team of researchers from Michigan State University discovered the highest-energy light ever observed from the sun. They found that gamma rays, a type of high-energy light, are surprisingly bright and more abundant than expected. The discovery was made using the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC), which works around the clock unlike other observatories. Instead of traditional telescopes, HAWC uses a network of 300 large water tanks to detect gamma rays. The collisions of gamma rays with air in the atmosphere create air showers, which HAWC detects through Cherenkov radiation. The team collected data for six years before noticing an excess of gamma rays from the sun. This was surprising because scientists previously believed that these gamma rays would be rare and not reach Earth. The energy level of the gamma rays observed was 1 trillion electron volts (1 TeV), and the researchers aim to understand how the sun produces such high-energy gamma rays. The discovery raises questions about our understanding of the sun and our galaxy.
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