What can the Magellanic Clouds tell us about cosmic rays in the Milky Way?
- Conference date: 12−14 Oct 1992
- Location: College Park, Maryland (USA)
A critical question in the study of the dynamics of our own galaxy is whether the cosmic rays are galactic or universal. Diffuse gamma ray emission from the Magellanic Clouds allows us to carry out studies of the cosmic ray distribution in these external galaxies and in turn permit us to answer the question on the origin of cosmic rays in our own galaxy. These gama rays are believed to be produced primarily through the interaction of cosmic rays with interstellar matter. Hence, combined with a knowledge of the interstellar matter distribution, they can provide a direct measure of the cosmic ray density. Results of a model calculation assuming quasi‐stable equilibrium between cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and interstellar gas, are presented and compared with recent data from the Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET) aboard the Compton Observatory. On the important question of whether the origin of the bulk of cosmic rays is galactic or extragalactic, a definitive test of the universality of cosmic rays can be accomplished through the measurement of the high energy gamma ray emission from the SMC and the LMC. The results obtained from the EGRET on the Magellanic Clouds clearly resolves this debate in favor of a galactic origin.
- Cosmic rays
- Cosmic gamma ray sources
- Galactic cosmic rays
- Magellanic Clouds
- Galactic dynamics
- Distribution of galaxies
- Cosmic ray matter interactions
- Galactic magnetic fields
- Magnetic fields
- Milky Way Galaxy
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