Astronomers have discovered an invisible barrier at the center of the Milky Way

By: Yuriy Stanislavskiy | 22.11.2021, 14:22
Astronomers have discovered an invisible barrier at the center of the Milky Way

The center of our galaxy turned out to be even stranger than scientists previously thought. A team of astronomers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has carried out a detailed study of the map of radioactive gamma radiation - the highest-energy glow in the universe, which is formed when cosmic rays collide with ordinary matter.

In the course of these studies, astronomers stumbled upon an invisible barrier that surrounds the center of our galaxy, and due to which the density of cosmic radiation in this region is much lower than the baseline level in the rest of the Milky Way. For some reason, the giant barrier prevents the fastest particles from reaching the center of the Milky Way.

The center of our galaxy is located about 26,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. It is a dense and dusty place with a million times more stars per cubic light year than where we are. These stars are located around a supermassive black hole, which is more than 4 million times the mass of the Sun.

Scientists have long assumed that this black hole or some other cosmic object accelerates protons and electrons to about the speed of light, creating cosmic radiation that travels through the galaxy and beyond. These rays penetrate powerful magnetic fields, creating oceans of high-energy particles, the density of which is uniform throughout the Milky Way.

Comparing this radiation in the center of the galaxy and in other regions, scientists have compiled a detailed map of the density of cosmic rays. He showed that there is something like a giant particle accelerator outside the center of the Milky Way, emitting cosmic and gamma rays outside the galactic center.

Chinese astronomers have discovered a mysterious barrier with a very clear zone, behind which the density of cosmic rays drops significantly. Something is shielding the center of the Milky Way from high-energy particles. The discovery will serve as the beginning of new large-scale research.

A source: techtimesnews18

Illustrations: NASA Goddard