Exploring the nature of the unidentified very-high-energy gamma-ray source HESS J1507–622
Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik,
PO Box 103980,
2 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
3 School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Received: 17 November 2011
Accepted: 8 August 2012
Context. Several extended sources of very-high-energy (VHE; E > 100 GeV) gamma rays have been found that lack counterparts belonging to an established class of VHE gamma-ray emitters.
Aims. The nature of the first unidentified VHE gamma-ray source with significant angular offset from the Galactic plane of 3.5°, HESS J1507–622, is explored.
Methods.Fermi-LAT data in the high-energy (HE, 100 MeV < E < 100 GeV) gamma-ray range collected over 34 month are used to describe the spectral energy distribution (SED) of the source. Additionally, implications of the off-plane location of the source for a leptonic and hadronic gamma-ray emission model are investigated.
Results. HESS J1507–622 is detected in the Fermi energy range and its spectrum is best described by a power law in energy with Γ = 1.7 ± 0.1stat ± 0.2sys and integral flux between (0.3−300) GeV of F = (2.0 ± 0.5stat ± 1.0sys) × 10-9 cm-2 s-1. The SED constructed from the Fermi and H.E.S.S. data for this source does not support a smooth power-law continuation from the VHE to the HE gamma-ray range. With the available data it is not possible to discriminate between a hadronic and a leptonic scenario for HESS J1507–622. The location and compactness of the source indicate a considerable physical offset from the Galactic plane for this object. In case of a multiple-kpc distance, this challenges a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) origin for HESS J1507–622 since the time of travel for a pulsar born in the Galactic disk to reach such a location would exceed the inverse Compton (IC) cooling time of electrons that are energetic enough to produce VHE gamma-rays. However, an origin of this gamma-ray source connected to a pulsar that was born off the Galactic plane in the explosion of a hypervelocity star cannot be excluded.
Conclusions. The nature of HESS J1507–622 is still unknown to date, and a PWN scenario cannot be ruled out in general. On the contrary HESS J1507–622 could be the first discovered representative of a population of spatially extended VHE gamma-ray emitters with HE gamma-ray counterpart that are located at considerable offsets from the Galactic plane. Future surveys in the VHE gamma-ray range are necessary to probe the presence or absence of such a source population.
Key words: gamma rays: ISM / pulsars: general / ISM: supernova remnants / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
© ESO, 2012