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MAGIC results

Search for very-high-energy gamma-ray emission from the microquasar Cygnus X-1 with the MAGIC telescopes
The microquasar Cygnus X-1 displays the two typical soft and hard X-ray states of a black-hole transient. During the latter, Cygnus X-1 shows a one-sided relativistic radio-jet. Recent detection of the system in the high energy (HE; E> 60 MeV) gamma- ray range with Fermi-LAT associates this emission with the outflow. Former MAGIC observations revealed a hint of flaring activity in the very high-energy (VHE; E > 100 GeV) regime during this X-ray state. We analyze ∼ 97 hr of Cygnus X-1 data taken with the MAGIC telescopes between July 2007 and October 2014. To shed light on the correlation between hard X-ray and VHE gamma rays as previously suggested, we study each main X-ray state separately. We perform an orbital phase-folded analysis to look for variability in the VHE band. Additionally, to place this variability behavior in a multiwavelength context, we compare our results with Fermi-LAT, AGILE, Swift-BAT, MAXI, RXTE-ASM, AMI and RATAN-600 data. We do not detect Cygnus X-1 in the VHE regime. We establish upper limits for each X-ray state, assuming a power-law distribution with photon index Γ=3.2. For steady emission in the hard and soft X-ray states, we set integral upper limits at 95% confidence level for energies above 200 GeV at 2.6×10^−12 photonscm^−2s^−1 and 1.0×10^−11 photonscm^−2s^−1, respectively. We rule out steady VHE gamma-ray emission above this energy range, at the level of the MAGIC sensitivity, originating in the interaction between the relativistic jet and the surrounding medium, while the emission above this flux level produced inside the binary still remains a valid possibility.

External link:
https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.03689

Performance of the MAGIC telescopes under moonlight
MAGIC, a system of two imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes, achieves its best performance under dark conditions, i.e. in absence of moonlight or twilight. Since operating the telescopes only during dark time would severely limit the duty cycle, observations are also performed when the Moon is present in the sky. Here we develop a dedicated Moon-adapted analysis to characterize the performance of MAGIC under moonlight. We evaluate energy threshold, angular resolution and sensitivity of MAGIC under different background light levels, based on Crab Nebula observations and tuned Monte Carlo simulations. This study includes observations taken under non-standard hardware configurations, such as reducing the camera photomultiplier tubes gain by a factor ~1.7 (Reduced HV settings) with respect to standard settings (Nominal HV) or using UV-pass filters to strongly reduce the amount of moonlight reaching the cameras of the telescopes. The Crab Nebula spectrum is correctly reconstructed in all the studied illumination levels, that reach up to 30 times brighter than under dark conditions. The main effect of moonlight is an increase in the analysis energy threshold and in the systematic uncertainties on the flux normalization. The sensitivity degradation is constrained to be below 10%, within 15-30% and between 60 and 80% for Nominal HV, Reduced HV and UV-pass filter observations, respectively. No worsening of the angular resolution was found. Thanks to observations during moonlight, the maximal duty cycle of MAGIC can be increased from ~18%, under dark nights only, to up to ~40% in total with only moderate performance degradation.

External link:
https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.00906v4

A cut-off in the TeV gamma-ray spectrum of the SNR Cassiopeia A
It is widely believed that the bulk of the Galactic cosmic rays are accelerated in supernova remnants (SNRs). However, no observational evidence of the presence of particles of PeV energies in SNRs has yet been found. The young historical SNR Cassiopeia A (Cas A) appears as one of the best candidates to study acceleration processes. Between December 2014 and October 2016 we observed Cas A with the MAGIC telescopes, accumulating 158 hours of good-quality data. We derived the spectrum of the source from 100 GeV to 10 TeV. We also analysed $\sim$8 years of $Fermi$-LAT to obtain the spectral shape between 60 MeV and 500 GeV. The spectra measured by the LAT and MAGIC telescopes are compatible within the errors and show a clear turn off (4.6 $\sigma$) at the highest energies, which can be described with an exponential cut-off at $E_c = 3.5\left(^{+1.6}_{-1.0}\right)_{\textit{stat}} \left(^{+0.8}_{-0.9}\right)_{\textit{sys}}$ TeV. The gamma-ray emission from 60 MeV to 10 TeV can be attributed to a population of high-energy protons with spectral index $\sim$2.2 and energy cut-off at $\sim$10 TeV. This result indicates that Cas A is not contributing to the high energy ($\sim$PeV) cosmic-ray sea in a significant manner at the present moment. A one-zone leptonic model fails to reproduce by itself the multi-wavelength spectral energy distribution. Besides, if a non-negligible fraction of the flux seen by MAGIC is produced by leptons, the radiation should be emitted in a region with a low magnetic field (B$\lessapprox$100$\mu$G) like in the reverse shock.)

External link:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1707.01583v1

Observation of the black widow B1957+20 millisecond pulsar binary system with the MAGIC telescopes
B1957+20 is a millisecond pulsar located in a black-widow-type compact binary system with a low-mass stellar companion. The interaction of the pulsar wind with the companion star wind and/or the interstellar plasma is expected to create plausible conditions for acceleration of electrons to TeV energies and subsequent production of very high-energy γ-rays in the inverse Compton process. We performed extensive observations with the Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov Telescopes (MAGIC) telescopes of B1957+20. We interpret results in the framework of a few different models, namely emission from the vicinity of the millisecond pulsar, the interaction of the pulsar and stellar companion wind region or bow shock nebula. No significant steady very high-energy γ-ray emission was found. We derived a 95 per cent confidence level upper limit of 3.0 × 10-12 cm-2 s-1 on the average γ-ray emission from the binary system above 200 GeV. The upper limits obtained with the MAGIC constrain, for the first time, different models of the high-energy emission in B1957+20. In particular, in the inner mixed wind nebula model with mono-energetic injection of electrons, the acceleration efficiency of electrons is constrained to be below ̃2-10 per cent of the pulsar spin-down power. For the pulsar emission, the obtained upper limits for each emission peak are well above the exponential cut-off fits to the Fermi-LAT data, extrapolated to energies above 50 GeV. The MAGIC upper limits can rule out a simple power-law tail extension through the sub-TeV energy range for the main peak seen at radio frequencies.

External link:
https://academic.oup.com/mnras/article-abstract/470/4/4608/3865147/Observation-of-the-black-widow-B1957-20?redirectedFrom=fulltext

MAGIC observations of the microquasar V404 Cygni during the 2015 outburst
The microquasar V404 Cygni underwent a series of outbursts in 2015, June 15-31, during which its flux in hard X-rays (20-40 keV) reached about 40 times the Crab Nebula flux. Because of the exceptional interest of the flaring activity from this source, observations at several wavelengths were conducted. The MAGIC telescopes, triggered by the INTEGRAL alerts, followed-up the flaring source for several nights during the period June 18-27, for more than 10 hours. One hour of observation was conducted simultaneously to a giant 22 GHz radio flare and a hint of signal at GeV energies seen by {\it Fermi}-LAT. The MAGIC observations did not show significant emission in any of the analysed time intervals. The derived flux upper limit, in the energy range 200--1250 GeV, is 4.8$\times 10^{-12}$ ph cm$^{-2}$ s$^{-1}$. We estimate the gamma-ray opacity during the flaring period, which along with our non-detection, points to an inefficient acceleration in the V404\,Cyg jets if VHE emitter is located further than $1\times 10^{10}$ cm from the compact object.

External link:
https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.00887

Performance of the MAGIC telescopes under moonlight
MAGIC, a system of two imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes, achieves its best performance under dark conditions, i.e. in absence of moonlight or twilight. Since operating the telescopes only during dark time would severely limit the duty cycle, observations are also performed when the Moon is present in the sky. Here we develop a dedicated Moon-adapted analysis to characterize the performance of MAGIC under moonlight. We evaluate energy threshold, angular resolution and sensitivity of MAGIC under different background light levels, based on Crab Nebula observations and tuned Monte Carlo simulations. This study includes observations taken under non-standard hardware configurations, such as reducing the camera photomultiplier tubes gain by a factor ~1.7 (Reduced HV settings) with respect to standard settings (Nominal HV) or using UV-pass filters to strongly reduce the amount of moonlight reaching the cameras of the telescopes. The Crab Nebula spectrum is correctly reconstructed in all the studied illumination levels, that reach up to 30 times brighter than under dark conditions. The main effect of moonlight is an increase in the analysis energy threshold and in the systematic uncertainties on the flux normalization. The sensitivity degradation is constrained to be below 10%, within 15-30% and between 60 and 80% for Nominal HV, Reduced HV and UV-pass filter observations, respectively. No worsening of the angular resolution was found. Thanks to observations during moonlight, the maximal duty cycle of MAGIC can be increased from ~18%, under dark nights only, to up to ~40% in total with only moderate performance degradation

External link:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1704.00906v2

Observations of Sagittarius A* during the pericenter passage of the G2 object with MAGIC
Context. We present the results of a multi-year monitoring campaign of the Galactic Center (GC) with the MAGIC telescopes. These observations were primarily motivated by reports that a putative gas cloud (G2) would be passing in close proximity to the super-massive black hole (SMBH), associated with Sagittarius A*, located at the center of our galaxy. This event was expected to give astronomers a unique chance to study the effect of in-falling matter on the broad-band emission of a SMBH. Aims. We search for potential flaring emission of very-high-energy (VHE; $\geq$100 GeV) gamma rays from the direction of the SMBH at the GC due to the passage of the G2 object. Using these data we also study the morphology of this complex region. Methods. We observed the GC region with the MAGIC Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes during the period 2012-2015, collecting 67 hours of good-quality data. In addition to a search for variability in the flux and spectral shape of the GC gamma-ray source, we use a point-source subtraction technique to remove the known gamma-ray emitters located around the GC in order to reveal the TeV morphology of the extended emission inside that region. Results. No effect of the G2 object on the VHE gamma-ray emission from the GC was detected during the 4 year observation campaign. We confirm previous measurements of the VHE spectrum of Sagittarius A*, and do not detect any significant variability of the emission from the source. Furthermore, the known VHE gamma-ray emitter at the location of the supernova remnant G0.9+0.1 was detected, as well as the recently discovered VHE source close to the GG radio Arc.

External link:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1611.07095v1

Very-high-energy gamma-ray observations of the Type Ia Supernova SN 2014J with the MAGIC telescopes
In this work we present data from observations with the MAGIC telescopes of SN 2014J detected in January 21 2014, the closest Type Ia supernova since Imaging Air Cherenkov Telescopes started to operate. We probe the possibility of very-high-energy (VHE; E≥100 GeV) gamma rays produced in the early stages of Type Ia supernova explosions. We performed follow-up observations after this supernova explosion for 5 days, between January 27 and February 2 in 2014. We search for gamma-ray signal in the energy range between 100 GeV and several TeV from the location of SN 2014J using data from a total of ∼5.5 hours of observations. Prospects for observing gamma-rays of hadronic origin from SN 2014J in the near future are also being addressed. No significant excess was detected from the direction of SN 2014J. Upper limits at 95% confidence level on the integral flux, assuming a power-law spectrum, dF/dE∝E−Γ, with a spectral index of Γ=2.6, for energies higher than 300 GeV and 700 GeV, are established at 1.3×10−12 and 4.1×10−13 photons~cm−2s−1, respectively. For the first time, upper limits on the VHE emission of a Type Ia supernova are established. The energy fraction isotropically emitted into TeV gamma rays during the first ∼10 days after the supernova explosion for energies greater than 300 GeV is limited to 10−6 of the total available energy budget (∼1051 erg). Within the assumed theoretical scenario, the MAGIC upper limits on the VHE emission suggest that SN 2014J will not be detectable in the future by any current or planned generation of Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes.

External link:
https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.07677

Multiband variability studies and novel broadband SED modeling of Mrk 501 in 2009
We present an extensive study of the BL Lac object Mrk 501 based on a data set collected during the multi-instrument campaign spanning from 2009 March 15 to 2009 August 1 which includes, among other instruments, MAGIC, VERITAS, Whipple 10-m, Fermi-LAT, RXTE, Swift, GASP-WEBT and VLBA. We find an increase in the fractional variability with energy, while no significant interband correlations of flux changes are found in the acquired data set. The higher variability in the very high energy (>100 GeV, VHE) gamma-ray emission and the lack of correlation with the X-ray emission indicate that the highest-energy electrons that are responsible for the VHE gamma-rays do not make a dominant contribution to the ~1 keV emission. Alternatively, there could be a very variable component contributing to the VHE gamma-ray emission in addition to that coming from the synchrotron self-Compton (SSC) scenarios. The space of SSC model parameters is probed following a dedicated grid-scan strategy, allowing for a wide range of models to be tested and offering a study of the degeneracy of model-to-data agreement in the individual model parameters. We find that there is some degeneracy in both the one-zone and the two-zone SSC scenarios that were probed, with several combinations of model parameters yielding a similar model-to-data agreement, and some parameters better constrained than others. The SSC model grid-scan shows that the flaring activity around 2009 May 22 cannot be modeled adequately with a one-zone SSC scenario, while it can be suitably described within a two-independent-zone SSC scenario. The observation of an electric vector polarization angle rotation coincident with the gamma-ray flare from 2009 May 1 resembles those reported previously for low frequency peaked blazars, hence suggesting that there are many similarities in the flaring mechanisms of blazars with different jet properties.

External link:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1612.09472

Deep observation of the NGC 1275 region with MAGIC: search of diffuse gamma-ray emission from cosmic rays in the Perseus cluster
Clusters of galaxies are expected to be reservoirs of cosmic rays (CRs) that should produce diffuse gamma-ray emission due to their hadronic interactions with the intra-cluster medium. The nearby Perseus cool-core cluster, identified as the most promising target to search for such an emission, has been observed with the MAGIC telescopes at very-high energies (VHE, E>100 GeV) for a total of 253 hr from 2009 to 2014. The active nuclei of NGC 1275, the central dominant galaxy of the cluster, and IC 310, lying at about 0.6∘ from the centre, have been detected as point-like VHE gamma-ray emitters during the first phase of this campaign. We report an updated measurement of the NGC 1275 spectrum, which is well described by a power law with a photon index of 3.6±0.2stat±0.2syst between 90 GeV and 1.2 TeV. We do not detect any diffuse gamma-ray emission from the cluster and set stringent constraints on its CR population. In order to bracket the uncertainties over the CR spatial and spectral distributions, we adopt different spatial templates and power-law spectral indexes α. For α=2.2, the CR-to-thermal pressure within the cluster virial radius is constrained to be below 1-2%, except if CRs can propagate out of the cluster core, generating a flatter radial distribution and releasing the CR-to-thermal pressure constraint to <20%. Assuming that the observed radio mini-halo of Perseus is generated by secondary electrons from CR hadronic interactions, we can derive lower limits on the central magnetic field, B0, that depend on the CR distribution. For α=2.2, B0≳5−8μG, which is below the 25 μG inferred from Faraday rotation measurements, whereas, for α≲2.1, the hadronic interpretation of the diffuse radio emission is in contrast with our gamma-ray flux upper limits independently of the magnetic field strength.

External link:
http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.03099

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