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Discovery of the Binary Pulsar PSR B1259-63 in Very-High-Energy Gamma Rays around Periastron with H.E.S.S

MPS-Authors
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Aharonian,  F.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Akhperjanian,  A. G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Beilicke,  M.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Benbow,  W.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Berge,  D.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Bernlöhr,  K.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Bolz,  O.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Glicenstein,  J.F.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Braun,  I.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Cornils,  R.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Costamante,  L.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Djannati-Atai,  A.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Feinstein,  F.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Funk,  S.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Gallant,  Y. A.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Gillessen,  S.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Dubus,  G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hermann,  G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hinton,  J. A.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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

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Horns,  D.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Khélifi,  B.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Konopelko,  A.
Prof. Heinrich J. Völk, Emeriti, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Masterson,  C.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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de Naurois,  M.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Orford,  K. J.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Osborne,  J. L.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Panter,  M.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Pühlhofer,  G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Raue,  M.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Rowell,  G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Saugé,  L.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Vasileiadis,  G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Völk,  H. J.
Prof. Heinrich J. Völk, Emeriti, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Kirk,  J. G.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Skjaeraasen,  O.
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Aharonian, F., Akhperjanian, A. G., Aye, K.-M., Bazer-Bachi, A. R., Beilicke, M., Benbow, W., et al. (2005). Discovery of the Binary Pulsar PSR B1259-63 in Very-High-Energy Gamma Rays around Periastron with H.E.S.S. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 442(1), 1-10.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-8816-A
Abstract
We report the discovery of very-high-energy (VHE) gamma-ray emission of the binary system PSR B1259-63/SS 2883 of a radio pulsar orbiting a massive, luminous Be star in a highly eccentric orbit. The observations around the 2004 periastron passage of the pulsar were performed with the four 13 m Cherenkov telescopes of the H.E.S.S. experiment, recently installed in Namibia and in full operation since December 2003. Between February and June 2004, a gamma-ray signal from the binary system was detected with a total significance above 13 sigma. The flux was found to vary significantly on timescales of days which makes PSR B1259-63 the first variable galactic source of VHE gamma-rays observed so far. Strong emission signals were observed in pre- and post-periastron phases with a flux minimum around periastron, followed by a gradual flux decrease in the months after. The measured time-averaged energy spectrum above a mean threshold energy of 380 GeV can be fitted by a simple power law F_0(E/1 TeV)^-Gamma with a photon index Gamma = 2.7+-0.2_stat+-0.2_sys and flux normalisation F_0 = (1.3+-0.1_stat+-0.3_sys) 10^-12 TeV^-1 cm^-2 s^-1. This detection of VHE gamma-rays provides unambiguous evidence for particle acceleration to multi-TeV energies in the binary system. In combination with coeval observations of the X-ray synchrotron emission by the RXTE and INTEGRAL instruments, and assuming the VHE gamma-ray emission to be produced by the inverse Compton mechanism, the magnetic field strength can be directly estimated to be of the order of 1 G.