Is the supernova remnant RX J1713.7-3946 a hadronic cosmic-ray accelerator?

Citation
Ym. Butt et al., Is the supernova remnant RX J1713.7-3946 a hadronic cosmic-ray accelerator?, ASTROPHYS J, 562(2), 2001, pp. L167-L171
Citations number
47
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL
ISSN journal
0004-637X → ACNP
Volume
562
Issue
2
Year of publication
2001
Part
2
Pages
L167 - L171
Database
ISI
SICI code
0004-637X(200112)562:2<L167:ITSRRJ>2.0.ZU;2-N
Abstract
The nonthermal supernova remnant (SNR) RX J1713.7-3946 has recently been sh own to be a site of cosmic-ray (CR) electron acceleration to TeV energies. Here we present evidence that this remnant is also accelerating CR nuclei. Such energetic nuclei can interact with ambient interstellar gas to produce high-energy gamma rays via the decay of neutral pions. We associate the un identified EGRET GeV gamma-ray source, 3EG J1714-3857, with a very massive (similar to3 x 10(5) M-.) and dense (similar to 500 nucleons cm(-3)) molecu lar cloud interacting with SNR RX J1713.7-3946. Direct evidence for such in teraction is provided by observations of the lowest two rotational transiti ons of CO molecules in the cloud; as in other clear cases of interaction, t he CO (J = 2 --> 1)/CO (J = 1 --> 0) ratio is significantly enhanced. Since the cloud is of low radio and X-ray brightness, electrons cannot be respon sible for the bulk of the GeV emission there. A picture thus emerges in whi ch both electrons and nuclei are being accelerated by the SNR: whereas the relativistic electrons dominate the local nonthermal radio, X-ray, and TeV emission, the shock-accelerated CR protons and ions (hadrons) are exposed t hrough their interactions in the adjacent massive cloud, leading to the obs erved GeV emission via the gamma decay of neutral pions.