Excess antielectrons aren’t from nearby dead stars, study says

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by paddoboy, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Excess antielectrons aren’t from nearby dead stars, study says
    The finding keeps open the possibility that the particles come from dark matter:

    New observations of the whirling cores of dead stars have deepened the mystery behind a glut of antimatter particles raining down on Earth from space.

    The particles are antielectrons, also known as positrons, and could be a sign of dark matter — the exotic and unidentified culprit that makes up the bulk of the universe’s mass. But more mundane explanations are also plausible: Positrons might be spewed from nearby pulsars, the spinning remnants of exploded stars, for example. But researchers with the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory, or HAWC, now have called the pulsar hypothesis into question in a paper published in the Nov. 17 Science.
    more at

    the paper:

    Exotic origin for cosmic positrons
    Several cosmic-ray detectors have found more positrons arriving at Earth than expected. Some researchers interpret this as a signature of exotic physics, such as the annihilation of dark matter particles. Others prefer a more mundane explanation that involves positron generation at pulsars followed by diffusion to Earth. Abeysekara et al. detected extended emission of gamma rays around two nearby pulsars, generated by high-energy electrons and positrons. The size of the extended emission was used to calculate how far positrons generated by the pulsars diffuse through space—which turns out to be insufficient to reach Earth. The excess positrons detected on Earth must therefore have a more exotic origin than nearby pulsars.

    Science, this issue p. 911

    The unexpectedly high flux of cosmic-ray positrons detected at Earth may originate from nearby astrophysical sources, dark matter, or unknown processes of cosmic-ray secondary production. We report the detection, using the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC), of extended tera–electron volt gamma-ray emission coincident with the locations of two nearby middle-aged pulsars (Geminga and PSR B0656+14). The HAWC observations demonstrate that these pulsars are indeed local sources of accelerated leptons, but the measured tera–electron volt emission profile constrains the diffusion of particles away from these sources to be much slower than previously assumed. We demonstrate that the leptons emitted by these objects are therefore unlikely to be the origin of the excess positrons, which may have a more exotic origin.


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