skip to main content


Title: Local H i emissivity measured with FERMI-LAT and implications for Cosmic-ray spectra

Cosmic-ray (CR) electrons and nuclei interact with the Galactic interstellar gas and produce high-energy γ-rays. The γ-ray emission rate per hydrogen atom, called emissivity, provides a unique indirect probe of the CR flux. We present the measurement and the interpretation of the emissivity in the solar neighborhood for γ-ray energy from 50 MeV to 50 GeV. We analyzed a subset of 4 yr of observations from the Large Area Telescope (LAT) aboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope ( Fermi) restricted to absolute latitudes $$10^\circ \lt | b| \lt 70^\circ $$. From a fit to the LAT data including atomic, molecular, and ionized hydrogen column density templates, as well as a dust optical depth map, we derived the emissivities, the molecular hydrogen–to–CO conversion factor $${X}_{\mathrm{CO}}=(0.902\pm 0.007)\times {10}^{20}$$ cm–2 (K km s–1)–1, and the dust-to-gas ratio $${X}_{\mathrm{DUST}}=(41.4\pm 0.3)\times {10}^{20}$$ cm–2 mag–1. Moreover, we detected for the first time γ-ray emission from ionized hydrogen. We compared the extracted emissivities to those calculated from γ-ray production cross sections and to CR spectra measured in the heliosphere. We observed that the experimental emissivities are reproduced only if the solar modulation is accounted for. This provides a direct detection of solar modulation observed previously through the anticorrelation between CR fluxes and solar activity. Lastly, we fitted a parameterized spectral form to the heliospheric CR observations and to the Fermi-LAT emissivity and obtained compatible local interstellar spectra for proton and helium kinetic energy per nucleon between between 1 and 100 GeV and for electron–positrons between 0.1 and 100 GeV.
  1. CEA-IRFU/CNRS/Univ. Paris Diderot, Gif-sur-Yvette (France)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 806; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; cosmic rays; gamma rays: diffuse background; gamma rays: ISM
OSTI Identifier: