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Habilitation À Diriger Des Recherches Year : 2011

Gamma ray astronomy and the origin of galactic cosmic rays


Diffusive shock acceleration operating at expanding supernova remnant shells is by far the most popular model for the origin of galactic cosmic rays. Despite the general consensus received by the model, an unambiguous and conclusive proof of the supernova remnant hypothesis is still missing. In this context, the recent developments in gamma ray astronomy provide us with precious insights into the problem of the origin of galactic cosmic rays, since production of gamma rays is expected both during the acceleration of cosmic rays at supernova remnant shocks and during their subsequent propagation in the interstellar medium. In particular, the recent detection of a number of supernova remnants at TeV energies nicely fits with the model, but it still does not constitute a conclusive proof of it, mainly due to the difficulty of disentangling the hadronic and leptonic contributions to the observed gamma ray emission. The main goal of my research is to search for an unambiguous and conclusive observational test for proving (or disproving) the idea that supernova remnants are the sources of galactic cosmic rays with energies up to (at least) the cosmic ray knee. Our present comprehension of the mechanisms of particle acceleration at shocks and of the propagation of cosmic rays in turbulent magnetic fields encourages beliefs that such a conclusive test might come from future observations of supernova remnants and of the Galaxy in the almost unexplored domain of multi-TeV gamma rays.
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Dates and versions

tel-00719791 , version 1 (20-07-2012)


  • HAL Id : tel-00719791 , version 1


Stefano Gabici. Gamma ray astronomy and the origin of galactic cosmic rays. High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena [astro-ph.HE]. Université Paris-Diderot - Paris VII, 2011. ⟨tel-00719791⟩
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