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An excess of gamma-rays coming from the center of the Milky Way is likely due to a population of pulsars – rapidly spinning, very dense and highly magnetized neutron stars that emit “beams” of gamma rays like cosmic lighthouses. The pulsars’ location in the oldest region of the galaxy suggests that they leach energy from companion stars, which prolongs the pulsars’ lifetime. The background image shows the galactic center as seen by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. | NASA/CXC/University of Massachusetts/D. Wang et al.; Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Astrophysics

‘Excess’ Gamma-Rays at Milky Way’s Core Likely From Pulsars, Not Dark Matter

New research debunks an exciting theory about the mysterious nature of dark matter.

Published On 05/03/2017
4:25 PM EDT
When astrophysicists model the Milky Way’s gamma-ray sources to the best of their knowledge, they are left with an excess glow at the galactic center. Some researchers have argued that the signal might hint at hypothetical dark matter particles. However, it could also have other cosmic origins. | NASA; A. Mellinger/Central Michigan University; T. Linden/University of Chicago