According to a new study by Chinese astronomers, the center of the Milky Way may be hiding more strange things than astronomers thought.
To carry out the study, a team of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated the map of radioactive gamma rays, the highest energetic form of light in the universe, which can arise when particles at high speeds Extremely high poles called cosmic rays crash into and explode in and around the center of the Milky Way.
The map reveals that something near the center of the Milky Way appears to be accelerating particles to terrifying speeds – very close to the speed of light – and creating countless cosmic rays and gamma rays just outside. the center of the Milky Way.
However, even as the center of the Milky Way blasts a continuous storm of high-energy radiation into space, something near the Milky Way’s core prevents a large portion of cosmic rays from entering.
The researchers describe the effect as being like an invisible “barrier” that surrounds the center of the Milky Way and is keeping the cosmic ray densities there significantly lower than the baseline seen throughout the Milky Way. Galaxy. In other words: Cosmic rays can come out of the center of the Milky Way, but it’s very difficult to get in.
How this cosmic barrier works, or why it exists, remains a mystery.
Using data from the Fermi Telescope, the team confirms that something in the center of the Milky Way is indeed acting like a giant particle accelerator, shooting cosmic rays out into the Milky Way. . Possible culprits include Sagittarius A*, as black holes could theoretically shoot certain particles into space even as they devour everything else around them.
But the map also reveals a mysterious “barrier” where the density of cosmic rays drops dramatically at the edge of the Milky Way’s center. The origin of the phenomenon is more difficult to pinpoint, the researchers say, but it could be related to the tangle of magnetic fields near our dense galactic core.