Ageing Neutron Stars Might Be Key in Revealing the Existence of Important Theoretical Particle

The Axion, an ultra-light theoretical particle first proposed in the 1970s, could finally be proved a reality by new X-Ray observations around the Magnificent Seven.

The Magnificent Seven are a set of unclustered Neutron Stars, all within 1,500 light-years of Earth. They are the remnant dead cores left behind from massive stars that have ended their lives as Supernovas. They all share traits that make them ideal as stellar laboratories. Most importantly, they are soft x-ray sources, well isolated from other high-energy sources, they are middle-aged, having died within the last few hundred thousand years, which means they are cooling, and they generate magnetic fields trillions of times stronger than our own, here on Earth. We are also able to observe them from multiple sources allowing differential diagnosis of data collected. The authors of this study used data collected from the space-based XMM-Newton and Chandra x-ray telescopes.

The cores of stars have long been theorized as one source of axions; Dark Matter another. A recently published study co-authored by Christoper Dessert and Benjamin R. Safdi of the Theoretical Physics Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, provides the very tantalizing possibility of a glimpse at axions.

Axions were first hypothesized in the 1970s as a possible solution to one of the many riddles of QCD, namely, CP Violation. If observed, they could provide the missing pieces in several Unifying Theories, Dark Matter, and String Theory among them.

The main issue, though, is that they are weakly-interactive (ultra-lightweight), meaning they don’t readily interact with the majority of the observable matter in the universe. However, they do have a specific fingerprint. They are expected to decay into paired photons in the presence of a strong magnetic field. This decay would release hard x-rays.

Here lies one of the issues in identifying axions. Many processes in space produce hard x-rays, most notably, any active solar nucleus. Enter the Magnificent Seven. They should produce axions in their cores; they have strong magnetic fields, and since they are cooling as they age, they produce soft x-rays.

So, when the authors of this study observed hard x-rays around members of The Magnificent Seven, they realized they could be seeing just the sort of decay predicted when axions interact with strong magnetic fields. Hard x-rays should not be emanating from these neutron stars, and there are no other likely candidate sources in their vicinities.

As one of the authors, Raymond Co states in another article published on the same research: “We’re not claiming that we’ve made the discovery of the Axion yet, but we’re saying that the extra X-ray photons can be explained by axions. It is an exciting discovery of the excess in the X-ray photons, and it’s an exciting possibility that’s already consistent with our interpretation of axions.”

Do you want to publish on Apple News, Google News, and more? Join our writing community, improve your writing skills, and be read by hundreds of thousands around the world!

More from Science – News Landed

+ Myelin-specific T cells cause degeneration as found in MS in humans
+ A new technique to search for gravitational waves

+ Disaster After Disaster for Indonesia
+ India breach the Gabba fortress as they win Border–Gavaskar Trophy 2-1

Related Stories

Fireworks on the Sun ahead of July 4th – A powerful X1 solar flare

Ahead of the Fourth of July celebrations, on July 03rd, the Sun erupted with a powerful X1-class solar flare....

Scientists use genetics to save the threatened the Amazon parrots

Researchers from Oakland University are mapping genomes from the amazon parrots in an effort to save them from extinction....

Featured Stories

Will Telosa be the “City of the Future” by 2030?

Shenzhen, China was a sleepy fishing village in 1979. A mere forty years later, it is one of the...

Low-cost lead adsorbing water filter designed by Indian students

Two students from India have designed a low-cost lead water filter that can be made with locally sourced materials....

Make it Rain! Dubai uses drones to conjure rain from the skies

You can order food, hail a driver, and even find a spouse with the click of a button; but...

Physicists have created the world’s thinnest magnet. Just one atom thick!

Can you guess the size of the thinnest magnet? It is just one atom thick. Scientists from the University of...

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reverse decision to avoid self-isolation following ping by NHS contact tracing

Following the Health Secretary's diagnosis with COVID-19, the Prime Minister and Chancellor were notified by NHS Test and Trace...

India is one of the largest producers of COVID vaccine and yet faces major internal shortages

The worsening situation in India finally gained some stabilization around September 2020. Usually, when things start getting better, people...