Something is shining on The Galactic Core, And We Might Be Closer to Dealing With The Mystery

Something is shining on The Galactic Core, And We Might Be Closer to Dealing With The Mystery ...

Something deep in the Milky Way galaxy is glowing with gamma radiation, and nobody is able to figure out for sure what it might be.

The same dark matter has been proposed, ruled out, and then tentatively reconsidered.

Dense and rapidly rotating objects called pulsars were also considered as candidate sources of the high-energy rays, before being dismissed as too few in numbers to make the sums work.

According to a survey conducted by scientists from Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, the pulsar explanation might bring new meaning, revealing how it might be possible to squeeze some serious intense sunshine from a growing population of spinning stars without breaking any regulations.

Gamma radiation isn''t your typical hue of sunlight. It requires some of the Universe''s most powerful processes to produce. We''re talking black holes colliding, matter being whipped towards light speed, and antimatter combining with matter kinds of processes.

All of these things are in spades in the Milky Way''s center. So when we look into the heavens and look at all of the crashing bits of matter, spiraling black holes, whizzing pulsars, and other astrophysical processes, we''d anticipate a healthy gamma glow.

Researchers accessed NASA''s Fermi telescope to measure the intense shine within our galaxy ten years ago, and discovered that there was more of this high-energy light than they could account for: what''s called the Galactic Centre Excess.

Untold bits of matter are weaving together in the dark during the night. These weakly interacting massive particles form a hypothetical category of dark matter referred to as WIMPs would close each other out when they smoosh together, leaving nothing less than radiation to mark their appearance.

It''s a fun process to look at, but it''s also quite complex.

"The nature of dark matter is totally unknown, and any suggestions can enliven the reader," says an astrophysicist at the Australian National University.

"But our results indicate another significant source of gamma ray production."

That''s why the millisecond pulsar is used.

Take a star much larger than ours and let its fires die down. It will eventually collapse into a dense ball not much wider than a city, where its atoms pack together so tightly, many of its protons are slowly baked into neutrons.

This process creates super-strong magnetic fields that transfer incoming particles into rapidly flowing streams, glowing with radiation.

These streams swivel around from the star''s poles like the Universe''s biggest lighthouse beacons, implying it is circulating with energy. Millisecond pulsars are used in conjunction with the object''s rotation, and we know a lot about the limitations under which they will consist.

"Scientists have previously detected gamma-ray emissions from individual millisecond pulsars in the neighborhood of the Solar System, so we know these objects emit gamma rays," Crocker said.

To produce them, they would need a generous amount of mass to feed on. However, most pulsar systems in the Milky Way are thought to be too puny to emit anything more powerful than X-rays.

However, it may not always be the case, particularly if the dead stars they emerged from are of a particular range of ultra-massive white dwarf.

According to Crocker, if enough of these heavyweights were to become pulsars and hold onto their binary partners, they would provide just the right amount of gamma radiation to match observations.

"Our model demonstrates that the combined emission from a whole population of such stars, roughly 100,000 in number, would produce a signal entirely compatible with the Galactic Centre Excess," says Crocker.

It''s an idea that now requires a large amount of empirical evidence. Unlike suggestions based on dark matter, we already know exactly what to look for.

This study has been published in Nature Astronomy.

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