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Supernova remnants and the origin of cosmic rays

  • Jacco Vink (a1)

Abstract

Supernova remnants have long been considered to be the dominant sources of Galactic cosmic rays. For a long time the prime evidence consisted of radio synchrotron radiation from supernova remnants, indicating the presence of electrons with energies of several GeV. However, in order to explain the cosmic ray energy density and spectrum in the Galaxy supernova remnant should use 10% of the explosion energy to accelerate particles, and about 99% of the accelerated particles should be protons and other atomic nuclei.

Over the last decade a lot of progress has been made in providing evidence that supernova remnant can accelerate protons to very high energies. The evidence consists of, among others, X-ray synchrotron radiation from narrow regions close to supernova remnant shock fronts, indicating the presence of 10-100 TeV electrons, and providing evidence for amplified magnetic fields, gamma-ray emission from both young and mature supernova remnants. The high magnetic fields indicate that the condition for accelerating protons to >1015 eV are there, whereas the gamma-ray emission from some mature remnants indicate that protons have been accelerated.

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Supernova remnants and the origin of cosmic rays

  • Jacco Vink (a1)

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