On the origin of the 511-keV emission in the Galactic Centre

Reba M. Bandyopadhyay, Joseph Silk, James E. Taylor, Thomas J. MacCarone

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19 Scopus citations


Diffuse 511-keV line emission, from the annihilation of cold positrons, has been observed in the direction of the Galactic Centre for more than 30 yr. The latest high-resolution maps of this emission produced by the SPI instrument on INTEGRAL suggest at least one component of the emission is spatially coincident with the distribution of ∼70 luminous, low-mass X-ray binaries detected in the soft gamma-ray band. The X-ray band, however, is generally a more sensitive probe of X-ray binary populations. Recent X-ray surveys of the Galactic Centre have discovered a much larger population (>4000) of faint, hard X-ray point sources. We investigate the possibility that the positrons observed in the direction of the Galactic Centre originate in pair-dominated jets generated by this population of fainter accretion-powered X-ray binaries. We also consider briefly whether such sources could account for unexplained diffuse emission associated with the Galactic Centre in the microwave (the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe 'haze') and at other wavelengths. Finally, we point out several unresolved problems in associating Galactic Centre 511-keV emission with the brightest X-ray binaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1123
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Acceleration of particles
  • Black hole physics
  • Dark matter
  • Galaxy: centre
  • X-rays: binaries


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