Fermi-LAT upper limits on gamma-ray emission from colliding wind binaries
Institut für Astro- und Teilchenphysik and Institut für Theoretische
Physik, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck,
2 Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Department of Physics and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Accepted: 19 May 2013
Context. Colliding wind binaries (CWBs) are thought to give rise to a plethora of physical processes including acceleration and interaction of relativistic particles. Observation of synchrotron radiation in the radio band confirms there is a relativistic electron population in CWBs. Accordingly, CWBs have been suspected sources of high-energy γ-ray emission since the COS-B era. Theoretical models exist that characterize the underlying physical processes leading to particle acceleration and quantitatively predict the non-thermal energy emission observable at Earth.
Aims. We strive to find evidence of γ-ray emission from a sample of seven CWB systems: WR 11, WR 70, WR 125, WR 137, WR 140, WR 146, and WR 147. Theoretical modelling identified these systems as the most favourable candidates for emitting γ-rays. We make a comparison with existing γ-ray flux predictions and investigate possible constraints.
Methods. We used 24 months of data from the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on-board the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope to perform a dedicated likelihood analysis of CWBs in the LAT energy range.
Results. We find no evidence of γ-ray emission from any of the studied CWB systems and determine corresponding flux upper limits. For some CWBs the interplay of orbital and stellar parameters renders the Fermi -LAT data not sensitive enough to constrain the parameter space of the emission models. In the cases of WR140 and WR147, the Fermi -LAT upper limits appear to rule out some model predictions entirely and constrain theoretical models over a significant parameter space. A comparison of our findings to the CWB η Car is made.
Key words: gamma rays: stars / stars: massive / binaries: general
© ESO, 2013