Diffuse γ-rays probe the highest-energy processes at the largest scales. Here we derive model-independent constraints on the hadronic contribution to the Galactic and extragalactic γ-ray spectra at in the energy range 50 MeV≲Eγ≲10 GeV. The hadronic component is dominated by emission from neutral pions, with a characteristic spectrum symmetric about mπ0/2. We exploit the well-defined properties of the pion decay spectrum to quantify the maximum pionic fraction of the observed γ-ray intensity. We find that the Galactic spectrum above 30 MeV can be atmost about 50% pionic. The maximum pionic contribution to the extragalactic spectrum is energy dependent; it also depends on the redshift range over which the sources are distributed, ranging from as low as about 20% for pions generated very recently, to as much as 90% if the pions are generated around redshift 10. The implications of these constraints for models of γ-ray and neutrino emission are briefly discussed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2004|
- Nuclear reactions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics