‘Strange presence’ alters cosmic ray behavior in the center of the Milky Way

Center of the Milky Way: secrets to be revealed. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found evidence of a “strange presence” and a powerful particle accelerator at the center of the galaxy. In their study, Xiaoyuan Huang, Qiang Yuan, and Yi-Zhong Fan describe their analysis of data obtained from the Fermi Large Area Telescope. The article was published in the magazine Nature Communications.

The galactic center is the center of rotation of the Milky Way. Previous research has shown that it contains a large black hole, Sagittarius A*. There are other astronomical objects there, like remnants of supernovae and pulsar wind nebulae (nebulae whose dynamics come from the wind produced by a pulsar).

However, not much is known about the interior of the galactic center due to its density. The cloud is so thick that it is almost impossible to read many of the forms of radiation within it. Still, most in the field agree that the galactic center emits many cosmic rays. Several of them can be important to us because they reach our planet.

mysterious barrier

Chinese researchers focused on cosmic rays emitted from the galactic center, particularly those that reach Earth. Using data gathered by teams working on the Fermi Large Area Telescope, they focused more specifically on gamma rays emitted by the central molecular cloud, a type of cloud that forms from interstellar dust and hydrogen gas situated between the Earth and the Earth. galactic center.

They found that the cosmic ray density in the central molecular cloud was lower than in the cosmic ray sea. This suggests that there is a mysterious barrier that prevents cosmic rays from entering the central molecular cloud. But they also found evidence of cosmic rays slowing down as they passed through the cloud and then accelerating again after they emerged. This would be evidence that something near the center of the galaxy serves as a particle accelerator.

Chinese researchers have been unable to find evidence of what this could be. His suspicions range from the Sagittarius A* black hole, wind nebulae, or even the remnants of a supernova. Scientists hope their findings will serve as the basis for further research in this area.

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