Detection of large-scale synchrotron radiation from the molecular envelope of the Sgr B cloud complex at the Galactic Centre

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We present highly sensitive measurements taken with MeerKAT at 1280 MHz as well as archival Green Bank Telescope (GBT), Murchison Widefield Array, and Very Large Array (VLA) images at 333, 88, and 74 MHz. We report the detection of synchrotron radio emission from the infrared dark cloud associated with the halo of the Sgr B complex on a scale of ∼60 pc. A strong spatial correlation between low-frequency radio continuum emission and dense molecular gas, combined with spectral index measurements, indicates enhanced synchrotron emission by cosmic ray electrons. Correlation of the Fe I 6.4 keV K α line and synchrotron emission provides compelling evidence that the low energy cosmic ray electrons are responsible for producing the K α line emission. The observed synchrotron emission within the halo of the Sgr B cloud complex has a mean spectral index α ∼ −1 ± 1, which gives the magnetic field strength ∼100 µG for cloud densities nH = 104–105 cm−3, and estimated cosmic ray ionization rates between 10−13 and 10−14 s−1. Furthermore, the energy spectrum of primary cosmic ray electrons is constrained to be E−3 ± 1 for typical energies of few hundred MeV. The extrapolation of this spectrum to higher energies is consistent with X-ray and γ-ray emission detected from this cloud. These measurements have important implications on the role that high cosmic ray electron fluxes at the Galactic centre play in production of radio synchrotron emission, the Fe I K α line emission at 6.4 keV, and ∼GeV γ-ray emission throughout the Central Molecular Zone.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society





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