The Galactic Center Gamma-Ray Excess: A Puzzle at the Heart of the Milky Way

Thursday, December 5, 2019 - 4:00pm
Phillips Auditorium

The region around the Galactic Center contains a well-characterized excess of gamma rays, which has garnered great interest as a possible signal of either dark matter particles colliding and annihilating, or a previously undiscovered population of pulsars in the stellar bulge. Analyses of the photon statistics of this excess have been used to argue that the pulsar interpretation is strongly favored -- however, I will present recent work arguing that it may be premature to exclude a dark matter origin for the excess on these grounds. I will outline the history of our understanding of the excess and the arguments for various interpretations, describe the current status of the controversy, and discuss future paths forward.

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