In a new study, researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered an alternate explanation for the unexplained gamma-ray signal emanating from the core of the galaxy, which has long been suspected to be a hallmark of dark matter in the universe.
Gamma rays are a kind of electromagnetic radiation that has the shortest wavelength and the greatest energy of all types of electromagnetic radiation.
Professor Roland Crocker, a co-author of the study, believes that this particular gamma-ray signal — known as the Galactic Center Excess — may be the result of a specific type of rapidly rotating neutral star, which are the super-dense stellar remnants of some stars that are many times more massive than the sun.
For a long time, astronomers were baffled by the unexpected concentration of gamma-rays emanating from the core of our galaxy, which they called the Galactic Center Excess. While Associate Professor Crocker’s research does not cast any doubt on the presence of the signal, it does suggest another possible source.
According to the researchers,
It is based on millisecond pulsars, which are neutron stars that rotate very swiftly – around 100 times per second. We know this because scientists have previously observed gamma-ray emissions from individual millisecond pulsars in the vicinity of the solar system, indicating that these objects produce gamma-rays. A full population of such stars, estimated to be roughly 100,000 in number, would give an integrated emission signal that is completely consistent with the Galactic Center Excess, according to our model,” the researchers write.
Scientists may have to reconsider where they hunt for hints concerning the dark matter as a result of this finding. As Associate Professor Crocker said, “The nature of dark matter is completely unknown, so any possible indications generate a great deal of enthusiasm.”
We have discovered another significant source of gamma-ray production, which we believe is crucial.” gamma-ray signal from Andromeda, the next nearest massive galaxy to our own, maybe mostly attributable to millisecond pulses, according to the researchers.
Anuj Gautam, an ANU Masters’s student, was the principal investigator of the study, which included scientists from the Australian Defence Force Academy, the University of Canterbury, and the University of Tokyo as collaborators. The findings of this study have been published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Edited By: Vanshika Sahu
Published By: Raj Kishor