Neutral Pion Emission from Accelerated Protons in the Supernova Remnant W44

The Astrophysical Journal Letters (Impact Factor: 5.6). 11/2011; 742(2):L30. DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/742/2/L30
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present the AGILE gamma-ray observations in the energy range 50 MeV-10 GeV of the supernova remnant (SNR) W44, one of the most interesting systems for studying cosmic-ray production. W44 is an intermediate-age SNR (~20, 000 years) and its ejecta expand in a dense medium as shown by a prominent radio shell, nearby molecular clouds, and bright [S II] emitting regions. We extend our gamma-ray analysis to energies substantially lower than previous measurements which could not conclusively establish the nature of the radiation. We find that gamma-ray emission matches remarkably well both the position and shape of the inner SNR shocked plasma. Furthermore, the gamma-ray spectrum shows a prominent peak near 1 GeV with a clear decrement at energies below a few hundreds of MeV as expected from neutral pion decay. Here we demonstrate that (1) hadron-dominated models are consistent with all W44 multiwavelength constraints derived from radio, optical, X-ray, and gamma-ray observations; (2) ad hoc lepton-dominated models fail to explain simultaneously the well-constrained gamma-ray and radio spectra, and require a circumstellar density much larger than the value derived from observations; and (3) the hadron energy spectrum is well described by a power law (with index s = 3.0 ± 0.1) and a low-energy cut-off at Ec = 6 ± 1 GeV. Direct evidence for pion emission is then established in an SNR for the first time.


Available from: Piergiorgio Picozza, Apr 22, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we present high-energy neutrino spectra from 21 Galactic supernova remnants (SNRs), derived from gamma-ray measurements in the GeV–TeV range. We find that only the strongest sources, i.e. G40.5-0.5 in the north and Vela Junior in the south could be detected as single point sources by IceCube or KM3NeT, respectively. For the first time, it is also possible to derive a diffuse signal by applying the observed correlation between gamma-ray emission and radio signal. Radio data from 234 supernova remnants listed in Green’s catalog are used to show that the total diffuse neutrino flux is approximately a factor of 2.5 higher compared to the sources that are resolved so far. We show that the signal at above 10 TeV energies can actually become comparable to the diffuse neutrino flux component from interactions in the interstellar medium. Recently, the IceCube collaboration announced the detection of a first diffuse signal of astrophysical high-energy neutrinos. Directional information cannot unambiguously reveal the nature of the sources at this point due to low statistics. A number of events come from close to the Galactic center and one of the main questions is whether at least a part of the signal can be of Galactic nature. In this paper, we show that the diffuse flux from well-resolved SNRs is at least a factor of 20 below the observed flux.
    Astroparticle Physics 05/2015; 65. DOI:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2014.12.002 · 4.45 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Because cosmic rays are charged particles scrambled by magnetic fields, combining direct measurements with other observations is crucial to understanding their origin and propagation. As energetic particles traverse matter and electromagnetic fields, they leave marks in the form of neutral interaction products. Among those, γ rays trace interactions of nuclei that inelastically collide with interstellar gas, as well as of leptons that undergo Bremsstrahlung and inverse-Compton scattering. Data collected by the Fermi large area telescope (LAT) are therefore telling us the story of cosmic rays along their journey from sources through their home galaxies. Supernova remnants emerge as a notable γ-ray source population, and older remnants interacting with interstellar matter finally show strong evidence of the presence of accelerated nuclei. Yet the maximum energy attained by shock accelerators is poorly constrained by observations. Cygnus X, a massive star-forming region established by the LAT as housing cosmic-ray sources, provides a test case to study the impact of wind-driven turbulence on the early propagation. Interstellar emission resulting from the large-scale propagation of cosmic rays in the Milky Way is revealed in unprecedented detail that challenges some of the simple assumptions used for the modeling. Moreover, the cosmic-ray induced γ-ray luminosities of galaxies-scale quasi-linearly with their massive-star formation rates: the overall normalization of that relation below the calorimetric limit suggests that for most systems, a substantial fraction of energy in cosmic rays escapes into the intergalactic medium. The nuclear production models and the distribution of target gas and radiation fields, not determined precisely enough yet, are key to exploiting the full potential of γ-ray data. Nevertheless, data being collected by Fermi and complementary multiwavelength/multimessenger observations are bringing us ever closer to solving the cosmic-ray mystery.
    Brazilian Journal of Physics 10/2014; 44(5). DOI:10.1007/s13538-014-0221-y · 0.68 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aims. The interaction of supernova remnants (SNRs) with molecular clouds gives rise to strong molecular emission in the far-IR and sub-mm wavelength regimes. The application of MHD shock models in the interpretation of this line emission can yield valuable information on the energetic and chemical impact of supernova remnants. Methods. New mapping observations with the APEX telescope in CO (3-2), (4-3), (6-5), (7-6) and 13CO (3-2) towards two regions in the supernova remnant W44 are presented. Integrated intensities are extracted on five different positions, corresponding to local maxima of CO emission. The integrated intensities are compared to the outputs of a grid of models, which combine an MHD shock code with a radiative transfer module based on the large velocity gradient approximation. Results. All extracted spectra show ambient and line-of-sight components as well as blue- and red-shifted wings indicating the presence of shocked gas. Basing the shock model fits only on the highest-lying transitions that unambiguously trace the shock-heated gas, we find that the observed CO line emission is compatible with non-stationary shocks and a pre-shock density of 10^4 cm-3. The ages of the modelled shocks scatter between values of \sim1000 and \sim3000 years. The shock velocities in W44F are found to lie between 20 and 25 km/s, while in W44E fast shocks (30-35 km/s) as well as slower shocks (\sim20 km/s) are compatible with the observed spectral line energy diagrams. The pre-shock magnetic field strength components perpendicular to the line of sight in both regions have values between 100 and 200 \muG. Our best-fitting models allow us to predict the full ladder of CO transitions, the shocked gas mass in one beam as well as the momentum- and energy injection.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2014; 569. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201423561 · 4.48 Impact Factor