Fermi large area telescope study of cosmic rays and the interstellar medium in nearby molecular clouds
2012 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 755, no 1, 22- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We report an analysis of the interstellar gamma-ray emission from the Chamaeleon, R Coronae Australis (R CrA), and Cepheus and Polaris flare regions with the Fermi Large Area Telescope. They are among the nearest molecular cloud complexes, within similar to 300 pc from the solar system. The gamma-ray emission produced by interactions of cosmic rays (CRs) and interstellar gas in those molecular clouds is useful to study the CR densities and distributions of molecular gas close to the solar system. The obtained gamma-ray emissivities above 250 MeV are (5.9 +/- 0.1(stat-1.0sys)(+0.9)) x 10(-27) photons s(-1) sr(-1) H-atom(-1), (10.2 +/- 0.4(stat-1.7sys)(+1.2)) x 10(-27) photons s(-1) sr(-1) H-atom(-1), and (9.1 +/- 0.3(stat-0.6sys)(+1.5)) x 10(-27) photons s(-1) sr(-1) H-atom(-1) for the Chamaeleon, R CrA, and Cepheus and Polaris flare regions, respectively. Whereas the energy dependences of the emissivities agree well with that predicted from direct CR observations at the Earth, the measured emissivities from 250 MeV to 10 GeV indicate a variation of the CR density by similar to 20% in the neighborhood of the solar system, even if we consider systematic uncertainties. The molecular mass calibrating ratio, X-CO = N(H-2)/W-CO, is found to be (0.96 +/- 0.06(stat-0.12sys)(+0.15)) x 10(20) H-2-molecule cm(-2) (K km s(-1))(-1), (0.99 +/- 0.08(stat-0.10sys)(+0.18)) x 10(20) H-2-molecule cm(-2) (K km s(-1))(-1), and (0.63 +/- 0.02(stat-0.07sys)(+0.09)) x 10(20) H-2-molecule cm(-2) (K km s(-1))(-1) for the Chamaeleon, R CrA, and Cepheus and Polaris flare regions, respectively, suggesting a variation of X-CO in the vicinity of the solar system. From the obtained values of X-CO, the masses of molecular gas traced by W-CO in the Chamaeleon, R CrA, and Cepheus and Polaris flare regions are estimated to be similar to 5 x 10(3)M(circle dot), similar to 10(3)M(circle dot), and similar to 3.3 x 10(4)M(circle dot), respectively. A comparable amount of gas not traced well by standard Hi and CO surveys is found in the regions investigated.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 755, no 1, 22- p.
cosmic rays, gamma rays: ISM
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101519DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/755/1/22ISI: 000306909500022ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84864453553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-101519DiVA: diva2:550614
QC 20120907. Correction in: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 78, Issue. 1, Article number 22. Doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/778/1/82
ScopusID: 2-s2.0-848877486872012-09-072012-08-302014-09-15Bibliographically approved