Imagine the Universe!
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Spectrum Contrast - Thermal vs. Cosmic Rays


These two spectra show the difference between thermal and synchrotron emission. In the thermal spectrum (top), many narrow features, or lines, are apparent. These lines represent transitions between two distinct energy states in a particular atom. It is possible to identify what element is responsible for the emission from the energy of the line. In contrast, the spectrum from synchrotron emission does not show these narrow features, but appears as a straight line. There is more flux at lower energies.

spectral analysis of Cas A

X-ray spectrum of Cas-A



SN 1006 spectra

X-ray spectrum of SN 1006


Return to the Cosmic Rays page

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Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: Meredith Gibb
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2014.
This page last updated: Monday, 27-Sep-2004 11:26:09 EDT