Chandra and HESS observations of the supernova remnant CTB 37B

09 February 2010

We discovered the >100 GeV γ-ray source, HESS J1713−381, apparently associated with the shell-type supernova remnant (SNR) CTB37B, using HESS in 2006. In 2007 we performed X-ray follow-up observations with Chandra with the aim of identifying a synchrotron counterpart to the TeV source and/or thermal emission from the SNR shell. These new Chandra data, together with additional TeV data, allow us to investigate the nature of this object in much greater detail than was previously possible. The new X-ray data reveal thermal emission from a ∼4 region in close proximity to the radio shell of CTB37B. The temperature of this emission implies an age for the remnant of ∼5000 years and an ambient gas density of ∼0.5 cm−3. Both these estimates are considerably uncertain due to the asymmetry of the SNR and possible modifications of the kinematics due to efficient cosmic ray (CR) acceleration. A bright (≈7× 10−13 erg cm−2 s−1) and unresolved (<1 ) source (CXOUJ171405.7−381031), with a soft (Γ ≈ 3.3) non-thermal spectrum is also detected in coincidence with the radio shell. Absorption indicates a column density consistent with the thermal emission from the shell, suggesting a genuine association rather than a chance alignment. The observed TeV morphology is consistent with an origin in the complete shell of CTB37B. The lack of diffuse non-thermal X-ray emission suggests an origin of the γ-ray emission via the decay of neutral pions produced in interactions of protons and nuclei, rather than inverse Compton (IC) emission from relativistic electrons