Revealing W51C as a cosmic ray source using Fermi-LAT data.
JOGLER T. and FUNK S.
Abstract (from CDS):
Supernova remnants (SNRs) are commonly believed to be the primary sources of Galactic cosmic rays. Despite intensive study of the non-thermal emission of many SNRs the identification of the accelerated particle type relies heavily on assumptions of ambient-medium parameters that are only loosely constrained. Compelling evidence of hadronic acceleration can be provided by detecting a strong roll-off in the secondary γ-ray spectrum below the π0 production threshold energy of about 135 MeV, the so called "pion bump." Here we use five years of Fermi-Large Area Telescope data to study the spectrum above 60 MeV of the middle-aged SNR W51C. A clear break in the power-law γ-ray spectrum at Ebreak=290±20 MeV is detected with 9σ significance and we show that this break is most likely associated with the energy production threshold of π0mesons. A high-energy break in the γ-ray spectrum at about 2.7 GeV is found with 7.5σ significance. The spectral index at energies beyond this second break is Γ2=2.52–0.07+0.06 and closely matches the spectral index derived by the MAGIC Collaboration above 75 GeV. Therefore our analysis provides strong evidence to explain the γ-ray spectrum of W51C by a single particle population of protons with a momentum spectrum best described by a broken power law with break momentum pbreak∼80 GeV/c. W51C is the third middle-aged SNR that displays compelling evidence for cosmic-ray acceleration and thus strengthens the case of SNRs as the main source of Galactic cosmic rays.