Exploring a cosmic-ray origin of the multiwavelength emission in M31
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Exploring a cosmic-ray origin of the multiwavelength emission in M31

  • Author(s): McDaniel, Alex;
  • Jeltema, Tesla;
  • Profumo, Stefano
  • et al.

A recent detection of spatially extended gamma-ray emission in the central region of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) has led to several possible explanations being put forth, including dark matter annihilation and millisecond pulsars. Another possibility is that the emission in M31 can be accounted for with a purely astrophysical cosmic-ray (CR) scenario. This scenario would lead to a rich multi-wavelength emission that can, in turn, be used to test it. Relativistic cosmic-ray electrons (CRe) in magnetic fields produce radio emission through synchrotron radiation, while X-rays and gamma rays are produced through inverse Compton scattering. Additionally, collisions of primary cosmic-ray protons (CRp) in the interstellar medium produce charged and neutral pions that then decay into secondary CRe (detectable through radiative processes) and gamma-rays. Here, we explore the viability of a CR origin for multi-wavelength emission in M31, taking into consideration three scenarios: a CR scenario dominated by primary CRe, one dominated by CRp and the resulting secondary CRe and gamma rays from neutral pion decay, and a final case in which both of these components exist simultaneously. We find that the multi-component model is the most promising, and is able to fit the multi-wavelength spectrum for a variety of astrophysical parameters consistent with previous studies of M31 and of cosmic-ray physics. However, the CR power injection implied by our models exceeds the estimated CR power injection from typical astrophysical cosmic-ray sources such as supernovae.

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