Implications of the Diffuse Galactic Continuum
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC E O HULBURT CENTER FOR SPACE RESEARCH
Pagination or Media Count:
Observations made with Ginga, OSSE and COMPTEL provide evidence that the diffuse Galactic continuum emission extends down to -10 keV, and that the spectrum steepens below about several hundred keV. If this emission is electron bremsstrahlung, then a very large power - 10exp 43 erg sexp -1 is required to maintain the electrons against energy losses to the interstellar medium. This exceeds by an order of magnitude the total power provided by Galactic supernovae. We suggest that this power might be derived form the gravitational potential released on the passage of the ISM through Galactic spiral arm compressions. Alternatively, the hard X-ray Galactic continuum could be the superposition of unresolved point sources such as accreting neutron stars or black holes.