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Conference Paper

Discovery of gamma-ray emission from the shell-type supernova remnant RCW 86 with H.E.S.S.


Hoppe,  Stefan
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hoppe, S., Lemoine-Goumard, M., & Vink, J. (2009). Discovery of gamma-ray emission from the shell-type supernova remnant RCW 86 with H.E.S.S. In Proceedings of the 4th International Meeting on High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy (pp. 332-335). Melville: AIP.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-77D0-2
The shell-type supernova remnant (SNR) RCW 86, possibly associated with the historical supernova SN 185, with its relatively large size (about 40' in diameter) and the presence of non-thermal X-rays is a promising target for gamma-ray observations. The high sensitivity, good angular resolution of a few arc minutes and the large field-of-view of the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) make it ideally suited for the study of the gamma-ray morphology of such extended objects. H.E.S.S. observations have indeed led to the discovery of the SNR RCW 86 in very high energy (VHE; E>100 GeV) gamma-rays. Within 31 hours of observation time, the source is detected with a statistical significance of 8.5 standard deviations and is found significantly more extended than the H.E.S.S. point spread function. Morphological studies have been performed and show that the gamma-ray flux does not correlate perfectly with the X-ray emission. The flux from the remnant is ~10% of the flux from the Crab nebula, with a similar photon index of about 2.5. Possible origins of the VHE gamma-ray emission, either via Inverse Compton scattering by electrons or the decay of neutral pions produced by proton interactions, are discussed on the basis of spectral features obtained both in the X-ray and VHE gamma-ray regimes.