Astronomers have discovered a source of mysterious radiation in the Milky Way
Astronomers have found that the source of gamma rays, in excess of those emitted by the center of the Milky Way, is not dark matter, as was previously thought, but a cluster of neutron stars. This is reported by the Science Alert.
Gamma radiation is formed by high-energy photons, which are emitted by such cosmic objects as supernovae, neutron stars and black holes. Astronomers using the Fermi space telescope, designed to observe various areas of space in the gamma range, took into account all possible sources of intense radiation in the center of the Milky Way. However, there was an excess of gamma rays, the source of which was supposed to be dark matter.
It is believed that dark matter consists of hypothetical massive particles - WIMPs. They participate in weak, nuclear and gravitational interactions, but do not enter into electromagnetic interactions. When colliding with one another, WIMPs must annihilate, releasing a large amount of energy visible as gamma radiation.
Astrophysicists performed a hydrodynamic simulation of the gas distribution to determine whether the observed gamma radiation is associated with dark matter, which should form a spherical halo surrounding the center of the galaxy. However, instead, the researchers received an X-shaped shape corresponding to the location of the stars in the Milky Way. On the basis of such results, scientists have named the most probable source of excess rays millisecond pulsars - neutron stars, whose rotation period around their axis is 1-10 milliseconds.
Thus, a large number of pulsars near the center of the Milky Way create the appearance of a smoothly distributed radiation, making it look like the picture expected from dark matter.