What predictions did NS-Capture Theory make about the X-ray Background in 1974?

In 1974, when the NS-Capture theory was discovered to explain the existence of Cen X-3 and Her X-1, it predicted that there would be many isolated neutron stars in the Galaxy.

At the same time the Uhuru data showed and extraordinary amount of x-ray background radiation and there was much discussion as to what the origin of it is. There were also “extended x-ray sources” that seemed to be large clouds emitting x-rays.

NS-Capture theory predicts that there are many isolated neutron stars in interstellar space within the Galaxy. As these NS’s float around, they will gather interstellar material such as hydrogen and dust. Based on the accretion model of Cen X-3 and Her X-1, it is pretty clear that this accumulated material will be sucked in by the NS gravity and emit x-rays as it nears the surface of the NS.

It is this x-ray emission that NS-Capture theory predicts will ultimately be shown to be the source of the x-ray background.

When Chandra was launched in 1999, it finally proved that the x-ray background is from individual discrete sources:

  • Chandra has resolved most of the X-ray background, a pervasive glow of X-rays throughout the universe, first discovered in the early days of space exploration. Before now, scientists have not been able to discern the background’s origin, because no X-ray telescope until Chandra has had both the angular resolution and sensitivity to resolve it.”

The conclusion reached by the scientists was that these discrete sources are “Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN’s)”, which are purported to be super-massive black holes accreting material in galaxies far away and that the x-rays emitted are then absorbed and re-emitted by the material in the interstellar medium of the host galaxy.

But could a nearby neutron star in our own Galaxy that has been accumulating material in our interstellar medium have a similar appearance to an AGN? That discussion will be on other pages.

For now, let us agree that NS-Capture Theory predicts that the x-ray background will be resolved into discrete x-ray sources and that is exactly what Chandra discovered when it was first launched in 1999, 25 years after the NS-Capture prediction.