Search for gamma-ray emission from Galactic novae with the Fermi -LAT
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Context. A number of novae have been found to emit high-energy gamma rays (>100 MeV). However, the origin of this emission is not yet understood. We report on the search for gamma-ray emission from 75 optically-detected Galactic novae in the first 7.4 years of operation of the Fermi Large Area Telescope using the Pass 8 data set. Aims. We compile an optical nova catalog including light curves from various resources and estimate the optical peak time and optical peak magnitude in order to search
... for gamma-ray emission to test if all novae are gamma-ray emitters. Methods. We repeat the analysis of the six novae previously identified as gamma-ray sources and develop a unified analysis strategy which we then apply to all novae in our catalog. We search for emission in a 15-day time window in two-day steps ranging from 20 days before to 20 days after the optical peak time. We perform a population study with Monte Carlo simulations to set constraints on the properties of the gamma-ray emission of novae. Results. Two new novae candidates have been found at 2sigma global significance. Although these two novae candidates were not detected at a significant level individually, taking them together with the other non-detected novae, we found a sub-threshold nova population with a cumulative 3sigma significance. We report the measured gamma-ray flux for detected sources and flux upper limits for novae without significant detection. Our results can be reproduced by several gamma-ray emissivity models (e.g. a power-law distribution with a slope of 2), while a constant emissivity model (i.e. assuming novae are standard candles) can be rejected.