Primary particle acceleration above 100 TeV in the shell-type supernova remnant RX J1713.7-3946 with deep HESS observations

F. Aharonian, A. G. Akhperjanian, A. R. Bazer-Bachi, M. Beilicke, W. Benbow, D. Berge, K. Bernlöhr, C. Boisson, O. Bolz, V. Borrel, I. Braun, E. Brion, A. M. Brown, R. Bühler, I. Büsching, S. Carrigan, P. M. Chadwick, L. M. Chounet, G. Coignet, R. CornilsL. Costamante, B. Degrange, H. J. Dickinson, A. Djannati-Ataï, L. O C Drury, G. Dubus, K. Egberts, D. Emmanoulopoulos, P. Espigat, F. Feinstein, E. Ferrero, A. Fiasson, G. Fontaine, Seb Funk, S. Funk, M. Füßling, Y. A. Gallant, B. Giebels, J. F. Glicenstein, B. Glück, P. Goret, C. Hadjichristidis, D. Hauser, M. Hauser, G. Heinzelmann, G. Henri, G. Hermann, J. A. Hinton, A. Hoffmann, W. Hofmann, M. Holleran, S. Hoppe, D. Horns, A. Jacholkowska, O. C. De Jager, E. Kendziorra, M. Kerschhaggl, B. Khélifi, Nu Komin, A. Konopelko, K. Kosack, G. Lamanna, I. J. Latham, R. Le Gallou, A. Lemière, M. Lemoine-Goumard, T. Lohse, J. M. Martin, O. Martineau-Huynh, A. Marcowith, C. Masterson, G. Maurin, T. J L McComb, E. Moulin, M. De Naurois, D. Nedbal, S. J. Nolan, A. Noutsos, J. P. Olive, K. J. Orford, J. L. Osborne, M. Panter, G. Pelletier, S. Pita, G. Pühlhofer, M. Punch, S. Ranchon, B. C. Raubenheimer, M. Raue, S. M. Rayner, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, J. Ripken, L. Rob, L. Rolland, S. Rosier-Lees, G. Rowell, V. Sahakian, A. Santangelo, L. Saugé, S. Schlenker, R. Schlickeiser, R. Schröder, U. Schwanke, S. Schwarzburg, S. Schwemmer, A. Shalchi, H. Sol, D. Spangler, F. Spanier, R. Steenkamp, C. Stegmann, G. Superina, P. H. Tam, J. P. Tavernet, R. Terrier, M. Tluczykont, C. Van Eldik, G. Vasileiadis, C. Venter, J. P. Vialle, P. Vincent, H. J. Völk, S. J. Wagner, M. Ward

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Aims. We present deep HESS observations of the supernova remnant (SNR) RX J1713.7-3946. Combining data of three years - from 2003 to 2005 - we obtain significantly increased statistics and energy coverage as compared to earlier 2003 and 2004 results. Methods. The data are analysed separately for the different years. Results. Very good agreement of the gamma-ray morphology and the differential spectra is found when comparing the three years. The combined gamma-ray image of the 2004 and 2005 data reveals the morphology of RX J1713.7-3946 with unprecedented precision. An angular resolution of 0.06° is achieved, revealing the detailed structure of the remnant. The combined spectrum of all three years extends over three orders of magnitude, with significant gamma-ray emission approaching 100 TeV. The cumulative significance above 30 TeV is 4.8σ, while for energies between 113 and 294 TeV an upper limit on the gamma-ray flux of 1.6 × 10-16 cm-2 s-1 is obtained. Conclusions. The energy coverage of the HESS data is presumably at the limit of present generation Cherenkov telescopes. The measurement of significant gamma-ray emission beyond 30 TeV formally implies the existence of primary particles of at least that energy. However, for realistic scenarios of very-high-energy gamma-ray production, the Inverse Compton scattering of very-high-energy electrons and π0 decay following inelastic proton-proton interactions, the measured gamma-ray energies imply that efficient acceleration of primary particles to energies exceeding 100 TeV is taking place in the shell of the SNR RX J1713.7-3946.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


  • Acceleration of particles
  • Gamma rays: observations
  • ISM: cosmic rays
  • ISM: supernova remnants

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