On the plasma temperature in supernova remnants with cosmic-ray modified shocksL. O'C. Drury1, F. A. Aharonian1, 2, D. Malyshev1, and S. Gabici1
1 Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Received 21 November 2008 / Accepted 14 January 2009
Multiwavelength observations of supernova remnants can be explained within the framework of the diffusive shock acceleration theory, which allows effective conversion of the explosion energy into cosmic rays. Although models of nonlinear shocks describe the nonthermal component of the emission reasonably well, certain issues, including the heating of the thermal plasma and the related X-ray emission, still remain open. We discuss how the evolution and structure of supernova remnants is affected by strong particle acceleration at the forward shock. We use analytical estimates combined with detailed discussion of the physical processes. The overall dynamics is shown to be relatively insensitive to the amount of particle acceleration, but the post-shock gas temperature can be reduced to a small multiple of the ambient temperature (even as low as six times) with a weak dependence on the shock speed. This is in marked contrast to models with no particle acceleration where the post-shock temperature is insensitive to the ambient temperature and is determined by the square of the shock speed. It thus appears to be possible to effectively suppress thermal X-ray emission from remnants by strong particle acceleration. This might provide a clue to understanding the lack of thermal X-rays from the TeV bright supernova remnant RX J1713.7-3946.
Key words: acceleration of particles -- shock waves -- ISM: supernova remnants
© ESO 2009