Gamma-ray emission from molecular clouds illuminated by local young massive stellar clusters and detection prospects with current and next generation instruments
July 25, 2023
Cosmic ray acceleration up to PeV energies has been suggested to take place in massive and young stellar clusters. The formation of a strong termination shock sustained by the collective action of stellar winds in a compact cluster offers a promising location where efficient particle acceleration might take place. The subsequent hadronic interactions of these particles result into gamma- ray production: in particular, if dense clouds are located within and around clusters, enhanced emission is expected. Within a scenario of particle acceleration at the cluster wind termination shock, we compute the emerging gamma-ray signal from molecular clouds illuminated by stellar clusters within the Milky Way. For this purpose, we adopt the Miville-Deschenes cloud catalog based on the Dame CO survey and astrometric observations of stellar clusters by GAIA. We further evaluate detection prospects of the gamma-ray flux with the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) and the Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO).
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