Study of non-thermal emission from supernova remnants and cosmic ray injection in the milky way using the Fermi large area telescope
- Supernova remnants (SNRs) are the only class of sources known in our Galaxy capable of providing the energy necessary to power the bulk of the Galactic cosmic-rays (CRs) below the `knee' (~ 3 PeV). They are observable across the entire frequency spectrum from radio to TeV gamma-rays, and are known to exhibit a rich variety of complex morphologies in multi-wavelength. Non-thermal emissions from SNRs in X-ray and gamma-ray arise from interaction between particles accelerated by the SNR blast wave and the surrounding medium, and are hence one of the most useful probe for the Galactic CR production process. In this thesis, we will try to obtain a fuller understanding of the origin of Galactic CRs through studying non-thermal emissions from SNRs and modelling CR injection from their astrophysical accelerators. In the first part of the thesis, we will develop a robust tool to simulate time and space-resolved broadband emission from young shell-type SNRs using coupled hydrodynamic and diffusive shock acceleration (DSA) calculations. Usually, the DSA process is expected to be highly non-linear for young SNRs due to a number of postulated coupling phenomena, which leads to the inter-correlation of the emission spectra and morphology at different wavelengths. Therefore, to gain the full picture, it is important to combine multi-wavelength observations and the relevant physical processes into a self-consistent and flexible calculation framework. By taking into account particle transport, escape, interaction and various radiative processes, our tool can predict photon emissivity in full three-dimension and multi-wavelength for any given SNR model and surrounding environment, such as in the presence of a nearby molecular cloud. Through illustrations using a few typical models for Type Ia SNR, we will demonstrate its capability of calculating results directly comparable to observations, as well as to pinpoint the gamma-ray emission mechanism, namely the leptonic and hadronic scenarios. In the second part, we will study the gamma-ray emission from a middle-aged SNR IC 443 (G189.1+3.0) using the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT). IC 443 has been extensively studied in the past few decades through radio to TeV gamma-ray, but high quality data in the sub-GeV to sub-TeV band, the most crucial window for constraining the origin of the high-energy emission, has still been missing. We will fill in this gap by analyzing LAT data from 200 MeV to 50 GeV using the 1st year of LAT data. Equipped with the high photon statistics available, and the excellent resolution, sensitivity and low background rate of LAT, we are able to probe the gamma-ray emission from IC 443 with minimal confusion with the backgrounds. We discovered spatially extended emission from IC 443 in the 1 - 50 GeV band for the first time, which eliminates the pulsar wind nebula (PWN) as the dominating gamma-ray emitter. We found good spatial correlation of the GeV mission with the TeV source recently detected by VERITAS, as well as a known group of ambient and shocked molecular clouds (MC). The sub-GeV to TeV broadband spectrum can be described by a power-law with a smooth break at a few GeV, the same feature also observed from several other LAT-detected middle-aged SNRs interacting with MCs. We will argue that the gamma-ray emission is most naturally explained by a neutral pion decay dominated origin, and the leptonic scenarios are disfavored. Finally, we will also discuss the major discoveries from LAT observations of other gamma-ray bright Galactic SNRs during the first 2 years of operation of Fermi. In the last part, we will construct a model of Galactic CR injection using constraints from most recent GeV and TeV observation data and CR measurements, which can provide a natural explanation for the enhanced positron flux above 10 GeV recently observed by PAMELA as compared to previous measurements. Without making speculation on `additional' positron contribution from any special nearby objects or resorting to exotic phenomena, we will look at a steady-state picture of our Galaxy in which the ensembles of SNRs and PWNe steadily inject CRs into the interstellar space. Using the GALPROP CR propagation code, the CR spectra and ratios at Earth are calculated and compared with data. Without tweaking the model parameters specifically to fit the positron data other than using observation and astrophysics-based assumptions, we will show that this steady-state model can satisfactorily reproduce the positron enhancement and other CR measurement results. Assisted by recent observations of middle-aged SNRs interacting with MCs by Fermi LAT, we are also able to set an upper-limit on the total number of these systems residing in our Galaxy. Finally, using this consistent model, we will estimate the energy budgets of the major species of Galactic CRs.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Lee, Shiu Hang
|Stanford University, Department of Physics
|Funk, Stefan, 1974-
|Funk, Stefan, 1974-
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Physics.
|Ph.D. Stanford University 2011
- © 2011 by Shiu Hang Lee
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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