Volume 611, March 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||04 April 2018|
Diffuse γ-ray emission in the vicinity of young star cluster Westerlund 2
Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik,
PO Box 103980,
2 Institute for Space Sciences (CSIC–IEEC), Campus UAB, Carrer de Can Magrans s/n, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
3 Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland
Accepted: 17 December 2017
We report the results of our analysis of the publicly available data obtained by the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on board the Fermi satellite towards the direction of the young massive star cluster Westerlund 2. We found significant extended γ-ray emission in the vicinity of Westerlund 2 with a hard power-law energy spectrum extending from 1 to 250 GeV with a photon index of 2.0 ± 0.1. We argue that amongst several alternatives, the luminous stars in Westerlund 2 are likely sites of acceleration of particles responsible for the diffuse γ-ray emission of the surrounding interstellar medium. In particular, the young star cluster Westerlund 2 can provide sufficient non-thermal energy to account for the γ-ray emission. In this scenario, since the γ-ray production region is significantly larger than the area occupied by the star cluster, we conclude that the γ-ray production is caused by hadronic interactions of accelerated protons and nuclei with the ambient gas. In that case, the total energy budget in relativistic particles is estimated of the order of 1050 erg.
Key words: gamma rays: ISM / cosmic rays
© ESO 2018
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