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The universe contains about 20% more high-energy radiation than previously thought, according to a new and unusual set of observations. If confirmed, the data would bring the levels of high energy radiation into agreement with previous measurements of lower energy radiation.
The results come from observations in January and February 2006 of high-energy X-rays and gamma rays that contribute to the "cosmic high-energy background". Most of this radiation is thought to come from very distant, supermassive black holes.
NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Observatory-1 last measured this radiation in the late 1970s. It found that the total amount of high-energy radiation was about 20% less than expected from extrapolations of studies of lower energy X-rays.