EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 466, Number 3, May II 2007
Page(s) 1219 - 1229
Section Astronomical instrumentation
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20066674

A&A 466, 1219-1229 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20066674

Background modelling in very-high-energy $\gamma$-ray astronomy

D. Berge1, 2, S. Funk1, 3, and J. Hinton1, 4, 5

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, PO Box 103980, 69029 Heidelberg, Germany
2  CERN, 1211 Geneva 23, Switzerland
    e-mail: berge@cern.ch
3  Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
4  Landessternwarte, Königstuhl, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
5  School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

(Received 31 October 2006 / Accepted 14 February 2007)

Context.Ground based Cherenkov telescope systems measure astrophysical $\gamma$-ray emission against a background of cosmic-ray induced air showers. The subtraction of this background is a major challenge for the extraction of spectra and morphology of $\gamma$-ray sources.
Aims.The unprecedented sensitivity of the new generation of ground based very-high-energy $\gamma$-ray experiments such as HESS has lead to the discovery of many previously unknown extended sources. The analysis of such sources requires a range of different background modelling techniques. Here we describe some of the techniques that have been applied to data from the HESS instrument and compare their performance.
Methods.Each background model is introduced and discussed in terms of suitability for image generation or spectral analysis and possible caveats are mentioned.
Results.We show that there is not a single multi-purpose model, different models are appropriate for different tasks. To keep systematic uncertainties under control it is important to apply several models to the same data set and compare the results.

Key words: gamma rays: observations -- methods: data analysis

© ESO 2007