skip to main content

Title: Cosmic ray protons and electrons from supernova remnants
Context. The spectrum of cosmic ray protons and electrons released by supernova remnants throughout their evolution is poorly known because of the difficulty in accounting for particle escape and confinement downstream of a shock front, where both adiabatic and radiative losses are present. Since electrons lose energy mainly through synchrotron losses, it is natural to ask whether the spectrum released into the interstellar medium may be different from that of their hadronic counterpart. Independent studies of cosmic ray transport through the Galaxy require that the source spectrum of electrons and protons be very different. Therefore, the above question acquires a phenomenological relevance. Aims. Here we calculate the spectrum of cosmic ray protons released during the evolution of supernovae of different types, accounting for the escape from the upstream region and for adiabatic losses of particles advected downstream of the shock and liberated at later times. The same calculation is carried out for electrons, where in addition to adiabatic losses we take the radiative losses suffered behind the shock into account. These electrons are dominated by synchrotron losses in the magnetic field, which most likely is self-generated by cosmic rays accelerated at the shock. Methods. We use standard temporal evolution relations more » for supernova shocks expanding in different types of interstellar media together with an analytic description of particle acceleration and magnetic field amplification to determine the density and spectrum of cosmic ray particles. Their evolution in time is derived by numerically solving the equation describing advection with adiabatic and radiative losses for electrons and protons. The flux from particles continuously escaping the supernova remnants is also accounted for. Results. The magnetic field in the post-shock region is calculated by using an analytic treatment of the magnetic field amplification due to nonresonant and resonant streaming instability and their saturation. The resulting field is compared with the available set of observational results concerning the dependence of the magnetic field strength upon shock velocity. We find that when the field is the result of the growth of the cosmic-ray-driven nonresonant instability alone, the spectrum of electrons and protons released by a supernova remnant are indeed different; however, such a difference becomes appreciable only at energies ≳100−1000 GeV, while observations of the electron spectrum require such a difference to be present at energies as low as ∼10 GeV. An effect at such low energies requires substantial magnetic field amplification in the late stages of supernova remnant evolution (shock velocity ≪1000 km s −1 ); this may not be due to streaming instability but rather hydrodynamical processes. We comment on the feasibility of such conditions and speculate on the possibility that the difference in spectral shape between electrons and protons may reflect either some unknown acceleration effect or additional energy losses in cocoons around the sources. « less
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Context.   Tycho ’s supernova remnant (SNR) is associated with the historical supernova (SN) event SN 1572 of Type Ia. The explosion occurred in a relatively clean environment, and was visually observed, providing an age estimate. This SNR therefore represents an ideal astrophysical test-bed for the study of cosmic-ray acceleration and related phenomena. A number of studies suggest that shock acceleration with particle feedback and very efficient magnetic-field amplification combined with Alfvénic drift are needed to explain the rather soft radio spectrum and the narrow rims observed in X-rays. Aims. We show that the broadband spectrum of Tycho ’s SNR can alternatively be well explained when accounting for stochastic acceleration as a secondary process. The re-acceleration of particles in the turbulent region immediately downstream of the shock should be efficient enough to impact particle spectra over several decades in energy. The so-called Alfvénic drift and particle feedback on the shock structure are not required in this scenario. Additionally, we investigate whether synchrotron losses or magnetic-field damping play a more profound role in the formation of the non-thermal filaments. Methods. We solved the full particle transport equation in test-particle mode using hydrodynamic simulations of the SNR plasma flow. The background magneticmore »field was either computed from the induction equation or follows analytic profiles, depending on the model considered. Fast-mode waves in the downstream region provide the diffusion of particles in momentum space. Results. We show that the broadband spectrum of Tycho can be well explained if magnetic-field damping and stochastic re-acceleration of particles are taken into account. Although not as efficient as standard diffusive shock acceleration, stochastic acceleration leaves its imprint on the particle spectra, which is especially notable in the emission at radio wavelengths. We find a lower limit for the post-shock magnetic-field strength ∼330  μ G, implying efficient amplification even for the magnetic-field damping scenario. Magnetic-field damping is necessary for the formation of the filaments in the radio range, while the X-ray filaments are shaped by both the synchrotron losses and magnetic-field damping.« less
  2. We have performed two-dimensional hybrid simulations of non-relativistic collisionless shocks in the presence of pre-existing energetic particles (‘seeds’); such a study applies, for instance, to the re-acceleration of galactic cosmic rays (CRs) in supernova remnant (SNR) shocks and solar wind energetic particles in heliospheric shocks. Energetic particles can be effectively reflected and accelerated regardless of shock inclination via a process that we call diffusive shock re-acceleration. We find that re-accelerated seeds can drive the streaming instability in the shock upstream and produce effective magnetic field amplification. This can eventually trigger the injection of thermal protons even at oblique shocks that ordinarily cannot inject thermal particles. We characterize the current in reflected seeds, finding that it tends to a universal value $J\simeq en_{\text{CR}}v_{\text{sh}}$ , where $en_{\text{CR}}$ is the seed charge density and $v_{\text{sh}}$ is the shock velocity. When applying our results to SNRs, we find that the re-acceleration of galactic CRs can excite the Bell instability to nonlinear levels in less than ${\sim}10~\text{yr}$ , thereby providing a minimum level of magnetic field amplification for any SNR shock. Finally, we discuss the relevance of diffusive shock re-acceleration also for other environments, such as heliospheric shocks, galactic superbubbles and clusters of galaxies.
  3. The nonresonant cosmic ray instability, predicted by Bell (2004), is thought to play an important role in the acceleration and confinement of cosmic rays (CR) close to supernova remnants. Despite its importance, the exact mechanism responsible for the saturation of the instability has not been determined, and there is no first-principle prediction for the amplitude of the saturated magnetic field. Using a survey of self-consistent hybrid simulations (with kinetic ions and fluid electrons), we study the non-linear evolution of the Bell instability as a function of the parameters of the CR population. We find that saturation is achieved when the magnetic pressure in the amplified field is comparable to the initial CR momentum flux.
  4. The nonresonant cosmic ray instability, predicted by Bell (2004), is thought to play an important role in the acceleration and confinement of cosmic rays (CRs) close to supernova remnants. Despite its importance, the exact mechanism responsible for the saturation of the instability has not been determined, and there is no first-principle prediction for the amplitude of the saturated magnetic field. Using a survey of self-consistent kinetic hybrid simulations (with kinetic ions and fluid electrons), we study the saturation of the non-resonant streaming instability as a function of the parameters of both the thermal background plasma and the CR population. The strength of the saturated magnetic field has important implications for both CR acceleration in supernova remnants and CR diffusion in the Galaxy.
  5. Aims. We analyse particle, radio, and X-ray observations during the first relativistic proton event of solar cycle 25 detected on Earth. The aim is to gain insight into the relationship between relativistic solar particles detected in space and the processes of acceleration and propagation in solar eruptive events. Methods. To this end, we used ground-based neutron monitor measurements of relativistic nucleons and space-borne measurements of electrons with similar speed to determine the arrival times of the first particles at 1 AU and to infer their solar release times. We compared the release times with the time histories of non-thermal electrons in the solar atmosphere and their escape to interplanetary space, as traced by radio spectra and X-ray light curves and images. Results. Non-thermal electrons in the corona are found to be accelerated in different regions. Some are confined in closed magnetic structures expanding during the course of the event. Three episodes of electron escape to the interplanetary space are revealed by groups of decametric-to-kilometric type III bursts. The first group appears on the low-frequency side of a type II burst produced by a coronal shock wave. The two latter groups are accompanied at higher frequencies by bursts with rapid driftsmore »to both lower and higher frequencies (forward- or reverse-drifting bursts). They are produced by electron beams that propagate both sunward and anti-sunward. The first relativistic electrons and nucleons observed near Earth are released with the third group of type III bursts, more than ten minutes after the first signatures of non-thermal electrons and of the formation of the shock wave in the corona. Although the eruptive active region is near the central meridian, several tens of degrees east of the footpoint of the nominal Parker spiral to the Earth, the kilometric spectrum of the type III bursts and the in situ detection of Langmuir waves demonstrate a direct magnetic connection between the L1 Lagrange point and the field lines onto which the electron beams are released at the Sun. Conclusions. We interpret the forward- and reverse-drifting radio bursts as evidence of reconnection between the closed expanding magnetic structures of an erupting flux rope and ambient open magnetic field lines. We discuss the origin of relativistic particles near the Earth across two scenarios: (1) acceleration at the CME-driven shock as it intercepts interplanetary magnetic field lines rooted in the western solar hemisphere and (2) an alternative where the relativistic particles are initially confined in the erupting magnetic fields and get access to the open field lines to the Earth through these reconnection events.« less