Rotating stars shed new light on strange signal emanating from galactic center

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) have found an alternative explanation for the mysterious gamma-ray signal emanating from the center of the galaxy, which has long been considered a sign of dark matter.

Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation with the shortest wavelength and highest energy.

Study co-author Associate Professor Roland Crocker said that this particular gamma signal – known as the Galactic Center Excess – could come from a special type of rapidly rotating neutron stars, the superdense stellar remnants of some stars much more massive than our Sun.

Galactic center excess is an unexpected concentration of gamma rays escaping from the center of our galaxy that has puzzled astronomers for a long time.

“Our work does not question the existence of the signal, but suggests another potential source,” Associate Professor Crocker said.

It is based on millisecond pulsars – neutron stars that rotate very fast – about 100 times per second.

“Scientists have previously detected gamma radiation from individual millisecond pulsars in the vicinity of the solar system, so we know that these objects emit gamma rays.

Our model shows that integrated radiation from an entire population of about 100,000 of these stars would produce a signal that is entirely consistent with the elevation of the Galactic center.”

This finding could mean scientists will have to rethink where they are looking for clues about dark matter.

“The nature of dark matter is completely unknown, so any potential clues are of great interest,” Associate Professor Crocker said.

But our results point to another important source of gamma-ray production.

” “For example, the gamma signal from Andromeda, the nearest large galaxy to us, can be caused mainly by millisecond pulsars.”

ANU graduate student Anuj Gautam led the study, which also involved scientists from the Australian Defense Forces Academy, the University of Canterbury and the University of Tokyo

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