Volume 450, Number 3, May II 2006
|Page(s)||1013 - 1021|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||19 April 2006|
The sky distribution of positronium annihilation continuum emission measured with SPI/INTEGRAL
Centre d'Étude Spatiale des Rayonnements, 9 avenue Colonel Roche, 31028 Toulouse Cedex 4, France e-mail: Georg.Weidenspointner@cesr.fr
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, LHEA, Code 661, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
3 American University of Sharjah, College of Arts & Science, Physics Department, PO Box 26666, Sharjah, UAE
4 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Postfach 1603, 85740 Garching, Germany
5 DSM/DAPNIA/SAp, CEA Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
6 ESA/ESTEC, Science Operations and Data Systems Division (SCI-SD), 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Accepted: 20 January 2006
We present a measurement of the sky distribution of positronium (Ps) annihilation continuum emission obtained with the SPI spectrometer on board ESA's INTEGRAL observatory. The only sky region from which significant Ps continuum emission is detected is the Galactic bulge. The Ps continuum emission is circularly symmetric about the Galactic centre, with an extension of about FWHM. Within measurement uncertainties, the sky distribution of the Ps continuum emission is consistent with that found by us for the 511 keV electron-positron annihilation line using SPI. Assuming that 511 keV line and Ps continuum emission follow the same spatial distribution, we derive a Ps fraction of . These results strengthen our conclusions regarding the origin of positrons in our Galaxy based on observations of the 511 keV line. In particular, they suggest that the main source of Galactic positrons is associated with an old stellar population, such as Type Ia supernovae, classical novae, or low-mass X-ray binaries. Light dark matter is a possible alternative source of positrons.
Key words: gamma rays: observations / Galaxy: bulge
© ESO, 2006
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