Evidence for Proton Acceleration up to TeV Energies Based on VERITAS and Fermi-LAT Observations of the Cas A SNR

A. U. Abeysekara, A. Archer, W. Benbow, R. Bird, R. Brose, M. Buchovecky, J. H. Buckley, A. J. Chromey, W. Cui, M. K. Daniel, S. Das, V. V. Dwarkadas, A. Falcone, Q. Feng, J. P. Finley, L. Fortson, A. Gent, G. H. Gillanders, C. Giuri, O. GuetaD. Hanna, T. Hassan, O. Hervet, J. Holder, G. Hughes, T. B. Humensky, P. Kaaret, P. Kar, N. Kelley-Hoskins, M. Kertzman, D. Kieda, M. Krause, F. Krennrich, S. Kumar, M. J. Lang, G. Maier, P. Moriarty, R. Mukherjee, M. Nievas-Rosillo, S. O'Brien, R. A. Ong, N. Park, A. Petrashyk, K. Pfrang, M. Pohl, E. Pueschel, J. Quinn, K. Ragan, P. T. Reynolds, G. T. Richards, E. Roache, I. Sadeh, M. Santander, G. H. Sembroski, K. Shahinyan, I. Sushch, A. Weinstein, P. Wilcox, A. Wilhelm, D. A. Williams, T. J. Williamson, B. Zitzer, A. Ghiotto

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33 Scopus citations


We present a study of γ-ray emission from the core-collapse supernova remnant Cas A in the energy range from 0.1 GeV to 10 TeV. We used 65 hr of the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) data to cover 200 GeV-10 TeV, and 10.8 yr of Fermi-Large Area Telescope (LAT) data to cover 0.1-500 GeV. The spectral analysis of Fermi-LAT data shows a significant spectral curvature around 1.3 ± 0.4stat GeV that is consistent with the expected spectrum from pion decay. Above this energy, the joint spectrum from Fermi-LAT and VERITAS deviates significantly from a simple power law, and it is best described by a power law with a spectral index of 2.17 ± 0.02stat and a cutoff energy of 2.3 ± 0.5stat TeV. These results, along with radio, X-ray, and γ-ray data, are interpreted in the context of leptonic and hadronic models. Assuming a one-zone model, we exclude a purely leptonic scenario and conclude that proton acceleration up to at least 6 TeV is required to explain the observed γ-ray spectrum. From modeling of the entire multiwavelength spectrum, a minimum magnetic field inside the remnant of B min ≈ 150 μG is deduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number51
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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