Tracy Slatyer, MIT

The region around the center of the Milky Way contains a well-measured glow of gamma rays, which has garnered great interest as a possible signal of either dark matter particles colliding and annihilating each other, or a previously undiscovered population of pulsars in the stellar bulge. Analyses of the photon statistics of the glow have been used to argue that the pulsar interpretation is strongly favored – however, I will present recent work arguing that this apparent evidence for pulsars can be an artifact of systematic errors, and it is premature to exclude other explanations of the glow on these grounds. I will outline the history of our understanding of this signal and the arguments for various interpretations, describe the current status of the controversy, and discuss future paths forward.