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High-energy particle acceleration in the shell of a supernova remnant

Aharonian, F. A. and Akhperjanian, A. G. and Aye, K.-M. and Bazer-Bachi, A. R. and Beilicke, M. and Benbow, W. and Berge, D. and Berghaus, P. and Bernlöhr, K. and Bolz, O. and Boisson, C. and Borgmeier, C. and Breitling, F. and Brown, A. M. and Bussons Gordo, J. and Chadwick, P. M., P. M. and Chitnis, V. R. and Chounet, L.-M. and Cornils, R. and Costamante, L. and Degrange, B. and Djannati-Ataï, A. and Drury, L. O'C. and Ergin, T. and Espigat, P. and Feinstein, F. and Fleury, P. and Fontaine, G. and Funk, S. and Gallant, Y. A. and Giebels, B. and Gillessen, S. and Goret, P. and Guy, J. and Hadjichristidis, C. and Hauser, M. and Heinzelmann, G. and Henri, G. and Hermann, G. and Hinton, J. A. and Hofmann, W. and Holleran, M. and Horns, D. and de Jager, O. C. and Jung, I. and Khélifi, B. and Komin, N. and Konopelko, A. and Latham, I. J. and Le Gallou, R. and Lemoine, M. and Lemière, A. and Leroy, N. and Lohse, T. and Marcowith, A. and Masterson, C. and McComb, T. J. L. and de Naurois, M. and Nolan, S. J. and Noutsos, A. and Orford, K. J. and Osborne, J. L. and Ouchrif, M. and Panter, M. and Pelletier, G. and Pita, S. and Pohl, M. and Pühlhofer, G. and Punch, M. and Raubenheimer, B. C. and Raue, M. and Raux, J. and Rayner, S. M. and Redondo, I. and Reimer, A. and Reimer, O. and Ripken, J. and Rivoal, M. and Rob, L. and Rolland, L. and Rowell, G. and Sahakian, V. and Saugé, L. and Schlenker, S. and Schlickeiser, R. and Schuster, C. and Schwanke, U. and Siewert, M. and Sol, H. and Steenkamp, R. and Stegmann, C. and Tavernet, J.-P. and Théoret, C. G. and Tluczykont, M. and van der Walt, D. J. and Vasileiadis, G. and Vincent, P. and Visser, B. and Völk, H. J. and Wagner, S. J. (2004) 'High-energy particle acceleration in the shell of a supernova remnant.', Nature., 432 (7013). pp. 75-77.


A significant fraction of the energy density of the interstellar medium is in the form of high-energy charged particles (cosmic rays)1. The origin of these particles remains uncertain. Although it is generally accepted that the only sources capable of supplying the energy required to accelerate the bulk of Galactic cosmic rays are supernova explosions, and even though the mechanism of particle acceleration in expanding supernova remnant (SNR) shocks is thought to be well understood theoretically2, 3, unequivocal evidence for the production of high-energy particles in supernova shells has proven remarkably hard to find. Here we report on observations of the SNR RX J1713.7 - 3946 (G347.3 - 0.5), which was discovered by ROSAT4 in the X-ray spectrum and later claimed as a source of high-energy -rays5, 6 of TeV energies (1 TeV = 1012 eV). We present a TeV -ray image of the SNR: the spatially resolved remnant has a shell morphology similar to that seen in X-rays, which demonstrates that very-high-energy particles are accelerated there. The energy spectrum indicates efficient acceleration of charged particles to energies beyond 100 TeV, consistent with current ideas of particle acceleration in young SNR shocks.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Gamma-ray emission, SNR RX-J1713.7-3946, Cassiopeia-A, Cosmic-rays, G347.3-0.5, Discovery, Spectrum, System, Origin.
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Record Created:08 May 2008
Last Modified:09 Aug 2011 10:48

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