Search for variable gamma-ray emission from the Galactic plane in the Fermi data
1 ISDC Data Centre for Astrophysics, Ch. d’Ecogia 16, 1290 Versoix, Switzerland
2 Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics, Metrologichna str., 14-b Kiev 03680, Ukraine
3 School of Physical Sciences, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland
4 DIAS, Fitzwiliam Place 31, Dublin 2, Ireland
5 Space Research Institute, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117997 Moscow, Russia
Received: 16 April 2012
Accepted: 19 June 2012
Context. High-energy γ-ray emission from the Galactic plane above ~ 100 MeV is composed of three main contributions: diffuse emission from cosmic ray interactions in the interstellar medium, emission from extended sources, such as supernova remnants and pulsar wind nebulae, and emission from isolated compact source populations.
Aims. The diffuse emission and emission from the extended sources provide the dominant contribution to the flux almost everywhere in the inner Galaxy, preventing the detection of isolated compact sources. In spite of this difficulty, compact sources in the Galactic plane can be singled out based on the variability properties of their γ-ray emission. Our aim is to find sources in the Fermi data that show long-term variability.
Methods. We performed a systematic study of the emission variability from the Galactic plane, by constructing the variability maps.
Results. We find that emission from several directions along the Galactic plane is significantly variable on a time scale of months. These directions include, in addition to known variable Galactic sources and background blazars, the Galactic ridge region at positive Galactic longitudes and several regions containing young pulsars. We argue that variability on the time scale of months may be common to pulsars, originating from the inner parts of pulsar wind nebulae, similarly to what is observed in the Crab pulsar.
Key words: gamma rays: general / methods: data analysis / surveys
© ESO, 2012