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Article: A population of gamma-ray emitting globular clusters seen with the Fermi Large Area Telescope

TitleA population of gamma-ray emitting globular clusters seen with the Fermi Large Area Telescope
Authors
KeywordsGamma Rays: General
Globular Clusters: General
Pulsars: General
Issue Date2010
PublisherEDP Sciences. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.aanda.org
Citation
Astronomy And Astrophysics, 2010, v. 524 n. 3 How to Cite?
AbstractContext. Globular clusters with their large populations of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are believed to be potential emitters of high-energy gamma-ray emission. The observation of this emission provides a powerful tool to assess the millisecond pulsar population of a cluster, is essential for understanding the importance of binary systems for the evolution of globular clusters, and provides complementary insights into magnetospheric emission processes. Aims. Our goal is to constrain the millisecond pulsar populations in globular clusters from analysis of gamma-ray observations. Methods. We use 546 days of continuous sky-survey observations obtained with the Large Area Telescope aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to study the gamma-ray emission towards 13 globular clusters. Results. Steady point-like high-energy gamma-ray emission has been significantly detected towards 8 globular clusters. Five of them (47 Tucanae, Omega Cen, NGC 6388, Terzan 5, and M 28) show hard spectral power indices (0.7 < Γ <1.4) and clear evidence for an exponential cut-off in the range 1.0-2.6 GeV, which is the characteristic signature of magnetospheric emission from MSPs. Three of them (M 62, NGC 6440 and NGC 6652) also show hard spectral indices (1.0 < Γ < 1.7), however the presence of an exponential cut-off can not be unambiguously established. Three of them (Omega Cen, NGC 6388, NGC 6652) have no known radio or X-ray MSPs yet still exhibit MSP spectral properties. From the observed gamma-ray luminosities, we estimate the total number of MSPs that is expected to be present in these globular clusters. We show that our estimates of the MSP population correlate with the stellar encounter rate and we estimate 2600-4700 MSPs in Galactic globular clusters, commensurate with previous estimates. Conclusions. The observation of high-energy gamma-ray emission from globular clusters thus provides a reliable independent method to assess their millisecond pulsar populations. © ESO, 2010. © 2010 ESO.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188402
ISSN
2014 Impact Factor: 4.378
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 2.446
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorAbdo, AAen_US
dc.contributor.authorAckermann, Men_US
dc.contributor.authorAjello, Men_US
dc.contributor.authorBaldini, Len_US
dc.contributor.authorBallet, Jen_US
dc.contributor.authorBarbiellini, Gen_US
dc.contributor.authorBastieri, Den_US
dc.contributor.authorBellazzini, Ren_US
dc.contributor.authorBlandford, RDen_US
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dc.contributor.authorGuillemot, Len_US
dc.contributor.authorGuiriec, Sen_US
dc.contributor.authorHadasch, Den_US
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dc.contributor.authorKamae, Ten_US
dc.contributor.authorParent, Den_US
dc.contributor.authorKatagiri, Hen_US
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dc.contributor.authorKerr, Men_US
dc.contributor.authorKnödlseder, Jen_US
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dc.contributor.authorDigel, SWen_US
dc.contributor.authorDo Couto E Silva, Een_US
dc.contributor.authorDrell, PSen_US
dc.contributor.authorDubois, Ren_US
dc.contributor.authorDumora, Den_US
dc.contributor.authorFavuzzi, Cen_US
dc.contributor.authorFortin, Pen_US
dc.contributor.authorFrailis, Men_US
dc.contributor.authorFukazawa, Yen_US
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dc.contributor.authorGehrels, Nen_US
dc.contributor.authorGermani, Sen_US
dc.contributor.authorGiglietto, Nen_US
dc.contributor.authorGiordano, Fen_US
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dc.date.accessioned2013-09-03T04:05:25Z-
dc.date.available2013-09-03T04:05:25Z-
dc.date.issued2010en_US
dc.identifier.citationAstronomy And Astrophysics, 2010, v. 524 n. 3en_US
dc.identifier.issn0004-6361en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188402-
dc.description.abstractContext. Globular clusters with their large populations of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are believed to be potential emitters of high-energy gamma-ray emission. The observation of this emission provides a powerful tool to assess the millisecond pulsar population of a cluster, is essential for understanding the importance of binary systems for the evolution of globular clusters, and provides complementary insights into magnetospheric emission processes. Aims. Our goal is to constrain the millisecond pulsar populations in globular clusters from analysis of gamma-ray observations. Methods. We use 546 days of continuous sky-survey observations obtained with the Large Area Telescope aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to study the gamma-ray emission towards 13 globular clusters. Results. Steady point-like high-energy gamma-ray emission has been significantly detected towards 8 globular clusters. Five of them (47 Tucanae, Omega Cen, NGC 6388, Terzan 5, and M 28) show hard spectral power indices (0.7 < Γ <1.4) and clear evidence for an exponential cut-off in the range 1.0-2.6 GeV, which is the characteristic signature of magnetospheric emission from MSPs. Three of them (M 62, NGC 6440 and NGC 6652) also show hard spectral indices (1.0 < Γ < 1.7), however the presence of an exponential cut-off can not be unambiguously established. Three of them (Omega Cen, NGC 6388, NGC 6652) have no known radio or X-ray MSPs yet still exhibit MSP spectral properties. From the observed gamma-ray luminosities, we estimate the total number of MSPs that is expected to be present in these globular clusters. We show that our estimates of the MSP population correlate with the stellar encounter rate and we estimate 2600-4700 MSPs in Galactic globular clusters, commensurate with previous estimates. Conclusions. The observation of high-energy gamma-ray emission from globular clusters thus provides a reliable independent method to assess their millisecond pulsar populations. © ESO, 2010. © 2010 ESO.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherEDP Sciences. The Journal's web site is located at http://www.aanda.orgen_US
dc.relation.ispartofAstronomy and Astrophysicsen_US
dc.subjectGamma Rays: Generalen_US
dc.subjectGlobular Clusters: Generalen_US
dc.subjectPulsars: Generalen_US
dc.titleA population of gamma-ray emitting globular clusters seen with the Fermi Large Area Telescopeen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailVitale, V: pablosp@hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authoritySaz Parkinson, PM=rp01803en_US
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltexten_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1051/0004-6361/201014458en_US
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