Recent measurements of the positron/electron ratio in the cosmic ray (CR) flux exhibits an apparent anomaly1, whereby this ratio increases between 10 and 100 GeV. In contrast, this ratio should decrease according to the standard scenario, in which CR positrons are secondaries formed by hadronic interactions between the primary CR protons and the interstellar medium (ISM)2. The positron excess is therefore interpreted as evidence for either an annihilation/decay of weakly interacting massive particles, or for a direct astrophysical source of pairs. The common feature of all proposed models is that they invoke new physics or new astrophysical sources. However, this line of argumentation relies implicitly on the assumption of a relatively homogeneous CR source distribution. Inhomogeneity of CR sources on a scale of order a kpc, can naturally explain this anomaly. If the nearest major CR source is about a kpc away, then low energy electrons (∼ 1 GeV) can easily reach us. At higher energies (∼>10 GeV), the source electrons cool via synchrotron and inverse-Compton before reaching the solar vicinity. Pairs formed in the local vicinity through the proton/ISM interactions can reach the solar system also at high energies, thus increasing the positron/electron ratio. A natural origin of source inhomogeneity is the strong concentration of supernovae to the galactic spiral arms. Assuming supernova remnants (SNRs) as the sole primary source of CRs, and taking into account their concentration near the galactic spiral arms, we consistently predict the observed positron fraction between 1 and 100 GeV, while abiding to different constraints such as the observed electron spectrum and the CRs cosmogenic age. ATIC's3 electron spectrum excess at ∼ 600 GeV can be explained, in this picture, as the contribution of a few known nearby SNRs.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - 2009|
|Event||44th Rencontres de Moriond on Very High Energy Phenomena in the Universe, VHEPU 2009 - La Thuile, Italy|
Duration: 1 Feb 2009 → 8 Feb 2009
|Conference||44th Rencontres de Moriond on Very High Energy Phenomena in the Universe, VHEPU 2009|
|Period||1/02/09 → 8/02/09|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
TWe thank Marc Kamionkowski, Re’em Sari and Vasiliki Pavlidou for helpful discussions. The work was partially supported by the ISF center for High Energy Astrophysics, an ISF grant (NJS), an IRG grant (EN) an ERC excellence grant and the Schwartzman Chair (TP).
© Thê Gioi Publishers, 2009.