MAGIC very large zenith angle observations of the Crab Nebula up to 100 TeV
Astronomy & Astrophysics 635, 10, March 2020 (Submitted 2020/01/27)
(Submitted on 27 Jan 2020, last revised 27 Jan 2020)
Aims: We aim to measure the Crab Nebula gamma-ray spectral energy distribution in the ~100 TeV energy domain and test the validity of existing leptonic emission models at these high energies. Methods: We use the novel very large zenith angle observations with the MAGIC telescope system to increase the collection area above 10 TeV. We also develop an auxiliary procedure of monitoring atmospheric transmission in order to assure proper calibration of the accumulated data. This employs recording of optical images of the stellar field next to the source position, which provides a better than 10% accuracy for the transmission measurements. Results: We demonstrate that MAGIC very large zenith angle observations yield a collection area larger than a square kilometer. In only ~56 hr of observations, we detect the gamma-ray emission from the Crab Nebula up to 100 TeV, thus providing the highest energy measurement of this source to date with Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes. Comparing accumulated and archival MAGIC and Fermi/LAT data with some of the existing emission models, we find that none of them provides an accurate description of the 1 GeV to 100 TeV gamma-ray signal.