Assessing the feasibility of cosmic-ray acceleration by magnetic turbulence at the galactic center

M. Fatuzzo, F. Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The presence of relativistic particles at the center of our Galaxy is evidenced by the diffuse TeV emission detected from the inner 2° of the Galaxy. Although it is not yet entirely clear whether the origin of the TeV photons is due to hadronic or leptonic interactions, the tight correlation of the intensity distribution with the distribution of molecular gas along the Galactic ridge strongly points to a pionic-decay process involving relativistic protons. In previous work, we concluded that point-source candidates, such as the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* (identified with the High-Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) source J1745-290) or the pulsar wind nebulae dispersed along the Galactic plane, could not account for the observed diffuse TeV emission from this region. Motivated by this result, we consider here the feasibility that the cosmic rays populating the Galactic center region are accelerated in situ by magnetic turbulence. Our results indicate that even in a highly conductive environment, this mechanism is efficient enough to energize protons within the intercloud medium to the ≳TeV energies required to produce the HESS emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • ISM: clouds
  • cosmic rays
  • diffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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