Aims. The recent discovery of the radio shell-type supernova remnant (SNR), G353.6-0.7, in spatial coincidence with the unidentified TeV source HESS J1731-347 has motivated further observations of the source with the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) Cherenkov telescope array to test a possible association of the gamma-ray emission with the SNR.
Methods. With a total of 59 h of observation, representing about four times the initial exposure available in the discovery paper of HESS J1731-347, the gamma-ray morphology is investigated and compared with the radio morphology. An estimate of the distance is derived by comparing the interstellar absorption derived from X-rays and the one obtained from (12)CO and HI observations.
Results. The deeper gamma-ray observation of the source has revealed a large shell-type structure with similar position and extension (r similar to 0.25 degrees) as the radio SNR, thus confirming their association. By accounting for the HESS angular resolution and projection effects within a simple shell model, the radial profile is compatible with a thin, spatially unresolved, rim. Together with RX J1713.7-3946, RX J0852.0-4622 and SN 1006, HESS J1731-347 is now the fourth SNR with a significant shell morphology at TeV energies. The derived lower limit on the distance of the SNR of 3.2 kpc is used together with radio and X-ray data to discuss the possible origin of the gamma-ray emission, either via inverse Compton scattering of electrons or the decay of neutral pions resulting from proton-proton interaction.
2011. Vol. 531, A81- p.