Traces of a Mysterious Particle Predicted Decades Ago May Have Been Detected - ScienceAlert
Jan 18, 2021 1 min, 3 secs

The X-ray emission coming off a collection of neutron stars known as the Magnificent Seven is so excessive that it could be coming from axions, a long-predicted kind of particle, forged in the dense cores of these dead objects, scientists have demonstrated.

One way to search for axions is by looking for excess radiation.

In this case, excess hard X-radiation is exactly what astronomers have found when looking at the Magnificent Seven.

This makes them an excellent laboratory for looking for axions, and when a team of researchers – led by senior author and physicist Benjamin Safdi of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – studied the Magnificent Seven with multiple telescopes, they identified high-energy (hard) X-ray emission not expected for neutron stars of that type.

Pulsars, for instance, emit hard X-radiation; but the other kinds of radiation emitted by pulsars, such as radio waves, are not present in the Magnificent Seven.

Another possibility is that unresolved sources near the neutron stars could be producing the hard X-ray emission.

But the datasets the team used, from two different space X-ray observatories – XMM-Newton and Chandra – indicated that the emission is coming from the neutron stars.

Like the Magnificent Seven, these objects have strong magnetic fields and are not expected to produce hard X-ray emission


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