From Universo Magico: “Hot gas in the center of the milky way”

Universo Magico

July 23, 2017
Juan Carlos


This image was produced by combining 12 observations of the X Chandra x-ray Observatory of a region 130 light-years from the center of the Milky way .

NASA/Chandra Telescope

The colors represent low-energy red X rays, average energy in green and high power in azul. Thanks to the unique power of resolution of Chandra, astronomers have been able to identify thousands of x-ray sources, as well as neutron stars, black holes, white dwarfs, stars in the foreground and the background galaxies. What remains is a diffuse glow of x-rays that extends from the upper left to the lower right, along the direction of the Galactic disk. The spectrum of the diffuse glow is consistent with a cloud of hot gas that contains two components, 10 million degrees Celsius and gas to 100 million degrees. Diffuse x-rays seem to be the brightest part of a crest of x-ray emission measuring thousands of years light across the disk of the Galaxy. The extension of this Crest implies that the diffuse hot gas in this image, probably not is being warmed by the supermassive black hole at the center of the milky way, known by astronomers as Sagittarius A.

The shockwaves from explosions of supernovae are the most likely explanation to heat the gas up to 10 million degrees, but it is not known how heats the gas of 100 million degrees. Ordinary shock waves from supernova would not warm by very high energy particles that produces the wrong spectrum of x-rays. Moreover, the observed Galactic magnetic field appears to discard the heating and confinement by magnetic turbulence. It is possible that the high energy of the hot gas x-ray component seem only diffuse and, indeed, is due to the combined glow of a yet undetected population of point sources, as well as diffuse lights of a city seen at a great distance. The difficulty with this explanation is that 200,000 radioactive sources in the observed region would be necessary. A population so large sources undetected, would produce a glow of x-rays much softer than is observed. In addition, there is a known class of objects that can account for such a large number of high energy x-ray sources in the center of the milky way.

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