The extragalactic background light (EBL) is the diffuse radiation with the second highest energy density in the Universe after the cosmic microwave background. The aim of this study is the measurement of the imprint of the EBL opacity to γ-rays on the spectra of the brightest extragalactic sources detected with the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.). The originality of the method lies in the joint fit of the EBL optical depth and of the intrinsic spectra of the sources, assuming intrinsic smoothness. Analysis of a total of ∼105γ-ray events enables the detection of an EBL signature at the 8.8σ level and constitutes the first measurement of the EBL optical depth using very-high energy (E > 100 GeV) γ-rays. The EBL flux density is constrained over almost two decades of wavelengths [0.30 μm, 17 μm] and the peak value at 1.4 μm is derived as λF λ = 15 ± 2stat ± 3sys nW m-2 sr-1.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The support of the Namibian authorities and of the University of Namibia in facilitating the construction and operation of H.E.S.S. is gratefully acknowledged, as is the support by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the Max Planck Society, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the French Ministry for Research, the CNRS-IN2P3 and the Astroparticle Interdisciplinary Programme of the CNRS, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the IPNP of the Charles University, the Czech Science Foundation, the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the South African Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation, and by the University of Namibia. We appreciate the excellent work of the technical support staff in Berlin, Durham, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Palaiseau, Paris, Saclay, and in Namibia in the construction and operation of the equipment.
- BL Lacertae objects: general
- Cosmic background radiation
- Gamma rays: galaxies