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Nature ; 594(7861): 33-36, 2021 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34002091


The extension of the cosmic-ray spectrum beyond 1 petaelectronvolt (PeV; 1015 electronvolts) indicates the existence of the so-called PeVatrons-cosmic-ray factories that accelerate particles to PeV energies. We need to locate and identify such objects to find the origin of Galactic cosmic rays1. The principal signature of both electron and proton PeVatrons is ultrahigh-energy (exceeding 100 TeV) γ radiation. Evidence of the presence of a proton PeVatron has been found in the Galactic Centre, according to the detection of a hard-spectrum radiation extending to 0.04 PeV (ref. 2). Although γ-rays with energies slightly higher than 0.1 PeV have been reported from a few objects in the Galactic plane3-6, unbiased identification and in-depth exploration of PeVatrons requires detection of γ-rays with energies well above 0.1 PeV. Here we report the detection of more than 530 photons at energies above 100 teraelectronvolts and up to 1.4 PeV from 12 ultrahigh-energy γ-ray sources with a statistical significance greater than seven standard deviations. Despite having several potential counterparts in their proximity, including pulsar wind nebulae, supernova remnants and star-forming regions, the PeVatrons responsible for the ultrahigh-energy γ-rays have not yet been firmly localized and identified (except for the Crab Nebula), leaving open the origin of these extreme accelerators.

Astrophys J ; 768(1)2013 May 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34646037


Supernova remnants (SNRs), as the major contributors to the galactic cosmic rays (CRs), are believed to maintain an average CR spectrum by diffusive shock acceleration regardless of the way they release CRs into the interstellar medium (ISM). However, the interaction of the CRs with nearby gas clouds crucially depends on the release mechanism. We call into question two aspects of a popular paradigm of the CR injection into the ISM, according to which they passively and isotropically diffuse in the prescribed magnetic fluctuations as test particles. First, we treat the escaping CR and the Alfvén waves excited by them on an equal footing. Second, we adopt field-aligned CR escape outside the source, where the waves become weak. An exact analytic self-similar solution for a CR "cloud" released by a dimmed accelerator strongly deviates from the test-particle result. The normalized CR partial pressure may be approximated as P ( p , z , t ) = 2 [ | z | 5 / 3 + z dif 5 / 3 ( p , t ) ] - 3 / 5  exp [ - z 2 / 4 D ISM ( p ) t ] , where p is the momentum of CR particle, and z is directed along the field. The core of the cloud expands as z dif ∝ D NL ( p ) t and decays in time as P ∝ 2 z dif - 1 ( t ) . The diffusion coefficient D NL is strongly suppressed compared to its background ISM value D ISM: D NL ~ D ISM exp (-Π) ≪ D ISM for sufficiently high field-line-integrated CR partial pressure, Π. When Π â‰« 1, the CRs drive Alfvén waves efficiently enough to build a transport barrier ( P ≈ 2 / | z | - "  pedestal " ) that strongly reduces the leakage. The solution has a spectral break at p = p br, where p br satisfies the equation D NL ( p br ) ≃ z 2 / t .

Nature ; 482(7386): 507-9, 2012 Feb 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22343893


Pulsars are thought to eject electron-positron winds that energize the surrounding environment, with the formation of a pulsar wind nebula. The pulsar wind originates close to the light cylinder, the surface at which the pulsar co-rotation velocity equals the speed of light, and carries away much of the rotational energy lost by the pulsar. Initially the wind is dominated by electromagnetic energy (Poynting flux) but later this is converted to the kinetic energy of bulk motion. It is unclear exactly where this takes place and to what speed the wind is accelerated. Although some preferred models imply a gradual acceleration over the entire distance from the magnetosphere to the point at which the wind terminates, a rapid acceleration close to the light cylinder cannot be excluded. Here we report that the recent observations of pulsed, very high-energy γ-ray emission from the Crab pulsar are explained by the presence of a cold (in the sense of the low energy of the electrons in the frame of the moving plasma) ultrarelativistic wind dominated by kinetic energy. The conversion of the Poynting flux to kinetic energy should take place abruptly in the narrow cylindrical zone of radius between 20 and 50 light-cylinder radii centred on the axis of rotation of the pulsar, and should accelerate the wind to a Lorentz factor of (0.5-1.0) × 10(6). Although the ultrarelativistic nature of the wind does support the general model of pulsars, the requirement of the very high acceleration of the wind in a narrow zone not far from the light cylinder challenges current models.

Nature ; 432(7013): 75-7, 2004 Nov 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-15525982


A significant fraction of the energy density of the interstellar medium is in the form of high-energy charged particles (cosmic rays). The origin of these particles remains uncertain. Although it is generally accepted that the only sources capable of supplying the energy required to accelerate the bulk of Galactic cosmic rays are supernova explosions, and even though the mechanism of particle acceleration in expanding supernova remnant (SNR) shocks is thought to be well understood theoretically, unequivocal evidence for the production of high-energy particles in supernova shells has proven remarkably hard to find. Here we report on observations of the SNR RX J1713.7 - 3946 (G347.3 - 0.5), which was discovered by ROSAT in the X-ray spectrum and later claimed as a source of high-energy gamma-rays of TeV energies (1 TeV = 10(12) eV). We present a TeV gamma-ray image of the SNR: the spatially resolved remnant has a shell morphology similar to that seen in X-rays, which demonstrates that very-high-energy particles are accelerated there. The energy spectrum indicates efficient acceleration of charged particles to energies beyond 100 TeV, consistent with current ideas of particle acceleration in young SNR shocks.