Spatial and spectral modeling of the gamma-ray distribution in the large magellanic cloud

Gary Foreman, You Hua Chu, Robert Gruendl, Annie Hughes, Brian Fields, Paul Ricker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We perform spatial and spectral analyses of the LMC gamma-ray emission collected over 66 months by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. In our spatial analysis, we model the LMC cosmic-ray distribution and gamma-ray production using observed maps of the LMC interstellar medium, star formation history, interstellar radiation field, and synchrotron emission. We use bootstrapping of the data to quantify the robustness of spatial model performance. We model the LMC gamma-ray spectrum using fitting functions derived from the physics of π0 decay, Bremsstrahlung, and inverse Compton scattering. We find the integrated gamma-ray flux of the LMC from 200 MeV to 20 GeV to be 1.37 ± 0.02 × 10-7 ph cm-2 s-1, of which we attribute about 6% to inverse Compton scattering and 44% to Bremsstrahlung. From our work, we conclude that the spectral index of the LMC cosmic-ray proton population is 2.4 ± 0.2, and we find that cosmic-ray energy loss through gamma-ray production is concentrated within a few 100 pc of acceleration sites. Assuming cosmic-ray energy equipartition with magnetic fields, we estimate LMC cosmic rays encounter an average magnetic field strength ∼3 μG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 2015


  • Magellanic Clouds
  • cosmic rays
  • gamma rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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