Journal Article

HESS observations of the Carina nebula and its enigmatic colliding wind binary Eta Carinae

A. Abramowski, F. Acero, F. Aharonian, A. G. Akhperjanian, G. Anton, A. Balzer, A. Barnacka, Y. Becherini, J. Becker, K. Bernlöhr, E. Birsin, J. Biteau, A. Bochow, C. Boisson, J. Bolmont, P. Bordas, J. Brucker, F. Brun, P. Brun, T. Bulik, I. Büsching, S. Carrigan, S. Casanova, M. Cerruti, P. M. Chadwick, A. Charbonnier, R. C. G. Chaves, A. Cheesebrough, G. Cologna, J. Conrad, M. Dalton, M. K. Daniel, I. D. Davids, B. Degrange, C. Deil, H. J. Dickinson, A. Djannati-Ataï, W. Domainko, L. O’C. Drury, G. Dubus, K. Dutson, J. Dyks, M. Dyrda, K. Egberts, P. Eger, P. Espigat, L. Fallon, S. Fegan, F. Feinstein, M. V. Fernandes, A. Fiasson, G. Fontaine, A. Förster, M. Füßling, Y. A. Gallant, T. Garrigoux, H. Gast, L. Gérard, B. Giebels, J. F. Glicenstein, B. Glück, D. Göring, M.-H. Grondin, S. Häffner, J. D. Hague, J. Hahn, D. Hampf, J. Harris, M. Hauser, S. Heinz, G. Heinzelmann, G. Henri, G. Hermann, A. Hillert, J. A. Hinton, W. Hofmann, P. Hofverberg, M. Holler, D. Horns, A. Jacholkowska, C. Jahn, M. Jamrozy, I. Jung, M. A. Kastendieck, K. Katarzyński, U. Katz, S. Kaufmann, B. Khélifi, D. Klochkov, W. Kluźniak, T. Kneiske, Nu. Komin, K. Kosack, R. Kossakowski, F. Krayzel, H. Laffon, G. Lamanna, J.-P. Lenain, D. Lennarz, T. Lohse, A. Lopatin, C.-C. Lu, V. Marandon, A. Marcowith, J. Masbou, G. Maurin, N. Maxted, M. Mayer, T. J. L. McComb, M. C. Medina, J. Méhault, R. Moderski, M. Mohamed, E. Moulin, C. L. Naumann, M. Naumann-Godo, M. de Naurois, D. Nedbal, D. Nekrassov, N. Nguyen, B. Nicholas, J. Niemiec, S. J. Nolan, S. Ohm, E. de Oña Wilhelmi, B. Opitz, M. Ostrowski, I. Oya, M. Panter, M. Paz Arribas, N. W. Pekeur, G. Pelletier, J. Perez, P.-O. Petrucci, B. Peyaud, S. Pita, G. Pühlhofer, M. Punch, A. Quirrenbach, M. Raue, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, M. Renaud, R. de los Reyes, F. Rieger, J. Ripken, L. Rob, S. Rosier-Lees, G. Rowell, B. Rudak, C. B. Rulten, V. Sahakian, D. A. Sanchez, A. Santangelo, R. Schlickeiser, A. Schulz, U. Schwanke, S. Schwarzburg, S. Schwemmer, F. Sheidaei, J. L. Skilton, H. Sol, G. Spengler, Ł. Stawarz, R. Steenkamp, C. Stegmann, F. Stinzing, K. Stycz, I. Sushch, A. Szostek, J.-P. Tavernet, R. Terrier, M. Tluczykont, K. Valerius, C. van Eldik, G. Vasileiadis, C. Venter, A. Viana, P. Vincent, H. J. Völk, F. Volpe, S. Vorobiov, M. Vorster, S. J. Wagner, M. Ward, R. White, A. Wierzcholska, M. Zacharias, A. Zajczyk, A. A. Zdziarski, A. Zech, H.-S. Zechlin and T. Montmerle

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 424, issue 1, pages 128-135
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
HESS observations of the Carina nebula and its enigmatic colliding wind binary Eta Carinae

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The massive binary system Eta Carinae and the surrounding H ii complex, the Carina nebula, are potential particle acceleration sites from which very high energy (VHE; E≥ 100 GeV) γ-ray emission could be expected. This paper presents data collected during VHE γ-ray observations with the HESS telescope array from 2004 to 2010, which cover a full orbit of Eta Carinae. In the 33.1-h data set no hint of significant γ-ray emission from Eta Carinae has been found and an upper limit on the γ-ray flux of (99 per cent confidence level) is derived above the energy threshold of 470 GeV. Together with the detection of high energy (HE; 0.1 ≤E≤ 100 GeV) γ-ray emission by the Fermi Large Area Telescope up to 100 GeV, and assuming a continuation of the average HE spectral index into the VHE domain, these results imply a cut-off in the γ-ray spectrum between the HE and VHE γ-ray range. This could be caused either by a cut-off in the accelerated particle distribution or by severe γ–γ absorption losses in the wind collision region. Furthermore, the search for extended γ-ray emission from the Carina nebula resulted in an upper limit on the γ-ray flux of (99 per cent confidence level). The derived upper limit of ∼23 on the cosmic ray enhancement factor is compared with results found for the old-age mixed-morphology supernova remnant W28.

Keywords: acceleration of particles; radiation mechanisms: non-thermal; ISM: individual objects: Carina nebula; ISM: individual objects: Eta Carina; open clusters and associations: general; X-rays: binaries

Journal Article.  5326 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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