Volume 568, August 2014
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||13 August 2014|
Cosmic ray induced ionisation of a molecular cloud shocked by the W28 supernova remnant
1 Univ. Grenoble Alpes/CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
2 APC, AstroParticule et Cosmologie, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS, CEA, Observatoire de Paris, Sorbonne Paris, 75205 Paris, France
3 Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, 98bis Bd Arago, 75014 Paris, France
Received: 19 April 2014
Accepted: 5 June 2014
Cosmic rays are an essential ingredient in the evolution of the interstellar medium, as they dominate the ionisation of the dense molecular gas, where stars and planets form. However, since they are efficiently scattered by the galactic magnetic fields, many questions remain open, such as where exactly they are accelerated, what is their original energy spectrum, and how they propagate into molecular clouds. In this work we present new observations and discuss in detail a method that allows us to measure the cosmic ray ionisation rate towards the molecular clouds close to the W28 supernova remnant. To perform these measurements, we use CO, HCO+, and DCO+ millimetre line observations and compare them with the predictions of radiative transfer and chemical models away from thermodynamical equilibrium. The CO observations allow us to constrain the density, temperature, and column density towards each observed position, while the DCO+/HCO+ abundance ratios provide us with constraints on the electron fraction and, consequently, on the cosmic ray ionisation rate. Towards positions located close to the supernova remnant, we find cosmic ray ionisation rates much larger (≳100) than those in standard galactic clouds. Conversely, towards one position situated at a larger distance, we derive a standard cosmic ray ionisation rate. Overall, these observations support the hypothesis that the γ rays observed in the region have a hadronic origin. In addition, based on CR diffusion estimates, we find that the ionisation of the gas is likely due to 0.1−1 GeV cosmic rays. Finally, these observations are also in agreement with the global picture of cosmic ray diffusion, in which the low-energy tail of the cosmic ray population diffuses at smaller distances than the high-energy counterpart.
Key words: ISM: clouds / cosmic rays / ISM: supernova remnants / ISM: individual objects: W28
© ESO, 2014
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.