Volume 518, July-August 2010Herschel: the first science highlights
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||20 August 2010|
Gamma-ray absorption and the origin of the gamma-ray flare in Cygnus X-1
Instituto Argentino de Radioastronomía (IAR), CCT La Plata (CONICET), C.C.5, (1894) Villa Elisa, Buenos Aires, Argentina e-mail: email@example.com
2 Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
3 Departamento de Física y Astronomía, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile
Accepted: 20 April 2010
Context. The high-mass microquasar Cyg X-1, the best-established candidate for a stellar-mass black hole in the Galaxy, has been detected in a flaring state at very high energies (VHE), E > 200 GeV, by the Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope MAGIC. The flare occurred at orbital phase ϕ = 0.91, where ϕ = 1 is the configuration with the black hole behind the companion high-mass star, when the absorption of gamma-ray photons by photon-photon annihilation with the stellar field is expected to be highest.
Aims. We aim to set up a model for the high-energy emission and absorption in Cyg X-1 that can explain the nature of the observed gamma-ray flare.
Methods. We study the gamma-ray opacity due to pair creation along the whole orbit, and for different locations of the emitter. Then we consider a possible mechanism for the production of the VHE emission.
Results. We present detailed calculations of the gamma-ray opacity and infer from these calculations the distance from the black hole where the emitting region was located. We suggest that the flare was the result of a jet-clump interaction where the decay products of inelastic p - p collisions dominate the VHE outcome.
Conclusions. We are able to reproduce the spectrum of Cyg X-1 during the observed flare under reasonable assumptions. The flare may be the first event of jet-cloud interaction ever detected at such high energies.
Key words: X-rays: binaries / gamma-rays: general / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / stars: winds, outflows
© ESO, 2010
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