Discovery of variable VHE γ-ray emission from the binary system 1FGL J1018.6-5856
Van der Walt, J.
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Re-observations with the HESS telescope array of the very high-energy (VHE) source HESS J1018–589 A that is coincident with the Fermi-LAT γ-ray binary 1FGL J1018.6–5856 have resulted in a source detection significance of more than 9σ and the detection of variability (χ2/ν of 238.3/155) in the emitted γ-ray flux. This variability confirms the association of HESS J1018–589 A with the high-energy γ-ray binary detected by Fermi-LAT and also confirms the point-like source as a new VHE binary system. The spectrum of HESS J1018–589 A is best fit with a power-law function with photon index Γ = 2.20 ± 0.14stat ± 0.2sys. Emission is detected up to ~20 TeV. The mean differential flux level is (2.9 ± 0.4) × 10-13 TeV-1 cm-2 s-1 at 1 TeV, equivalent to ~1% of the flux from the Crab Nebula at the same energy. Variability is clearly detected in the night-by-night light curve. When folded on the orbital period of 16.58 days, the rebinned light curve peaks in phase with the observed X-ray and high-energy phaseograms. The fit of the HESS phaseogram to a constant flux provides evidence of periodicity at the level of Nσ> 3σ. The shape of the VHE phaseogram and measured spectrum suggest a low-inclination, low-eccentricity system with amodest impact from VHE γ-ray absorption due to pair production (τ ≲ 1 at 300 GeV)