Astrophysicists Find “High Energy” Signal of “Extraterrestrial Origin”

Extraterrestrial doesn’t mean coming from little green men, somewhere out there, it means its a signal we picked up that isn’t from Earth.

Its origin is a complete mystery.

An International group of astrophysicists with the participation of MEPhI has come across a strange signal of high-energy galactic photons in the Fermi experiment.

The new find may help astrophysicists better explain the origin of high-energy neutrinos, which have previously been spotted by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the Amundsen-Scott Antarctic station

The new discovery was reported in the journal “Physical Review-D“.

This sounds awfully like complicated science. But it actually isn’t.

Neutrinos can pass through ordinary matter where other parties cannot.

Take solar neutrinos for example. They come from the depths of a Star and offer us unprecedented info about thermonuclear reactions that occur the Solar core.

High-Energy Neutrinos, on the other hand, come from an unknown source produced by still unknown extraterrestrial objects. This information is not available by any other methods of observation.

Scientists from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, as well as colleagues from the Paris Diderot University (France), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway), the University of Geneva (Switzerland) have come across a new component in the gamma-ray flux as they peered into data obtained by the Fermi gamma telescope at high energies (above 300 GeV).

“At energies above 300 GeV, signals from sources outside our Galaxy will be severely suppressed by gamma-ray absorption in intergalactic space. At the same time, gamma radiation is practically not absorbed within the Galaxy. Thus, a source of the new component should be in our Galaxy”, explained Professor Dmitry Semikoz from MEPhI, and one of the authors of the new study.

Something in common

Scientists explain that the spectrum of the new components follows a similar path to the abnormally high neutrino flux recently picked up in the IceCube experiment.

This led scientists to think of a common origin.

Neutrinos are always produced together with ‘gamma radiation’ which has a similar spectrum. Therefore, scientists assume both spectrums may share a common origin.

“In this research, we proposed two models that explain all the data,” explained Professor Semikoz.

“In the first model, neutrino and gamma radiation are produced in a close to us region of the Galaxy because of the interaction of cosmic rays. In the second model, neutrinos and gamma rays were produced by the decay of dark matter in our Galaxy.”

Further studies may provide more clues that could help astrophysicists crack the mystery of the origin of the spectrum. 

As explained by the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), if decaying dark matter is the signal’s source, the importance of this research cannot be overestimated.

“But even in the case of a close astrophysical source, for the first time, we may have a chance to find the source of cosmic rays that produce the observed neutrino and gamma radiation”

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