In a radioactive map, a mystery about an invisible ‘barrier’ inside the Milky Way’s core has been discovered.
Scientists who created a “map” of cosmic ray patterns around the center of the Milky Way have discovered a “barrier” protecting the galaxy’s nucleus.
Scientists have discovered a mysterious space barrier that prevents high-energy cosmic rays from reaching our galaxy’s supermassive black hole.
The team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing discovered that an unexplained force appears to be accelerating any cosmic particles approaching the galaxy’s center to incredible speeds after creating a map of radiation at the core of the Milky Way.
The findings were published in the scientific journal Nature Communications on November 9th.
They described the unknown force as an invisible “barrier” that encircles the galaxy’s core, preventing cosmic ray density from exceeding the expected level.
They say it’s unclear what’s causing this massive wall in space at this time.
A massive black hole with a mass estimated to be around four million times that of our Sun resides at the center of our galaxy, and possibly all galaxies.
It’s about 26,000 light-years away, in the direction of Sagittarius.
While it’s difficult to observe black holes directly, several super-powerful flares have been imaged as the object known as Sagittarius A* gobbles up large asteroids and other objects that stray too close to its event horizon.
Researchers have identified Sagittarius A* as a massively powerful cosmic ray source, shooting energetic particles across our galaxy, using data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope.
However, their map also revealed a mysterious “barrier” surrounding the galactic center, where the density of cosmic rays dramatically decreases.
Scientists have been baffled as to what is causing this space wall to form.
It could have been created by dense clouds of dust and other cosmic debris collapsing in on themselves, compressing the magnetic fields and forming a cosmic-ray barrier, according to the researchers.
Another possibility is that streams of charged particles released from the galactic center’s densely packed stars are “pushing back” against the tide of cosmic radiation, similar to a massively magnified version of our solar system’s “solar wind.”