The binary systems that have been detected in gamma rays have proven very useful to study high-energy processes, in particular particle acceleration, emission and radiation reprocessing, and the dynamics of the underlying magnetized flows. Binary systems, either detected or potential gamma-ray emitters, can be grouped in different subclasses depending on the nature of the binary components or the origin of the particle acceleration: the interaction of the winds of either a pulsar and a massive star or two massive stars; accretion onto a compact object and jet formation; and interaction of a relativistic outflow with the external medium. We evaluate the potentialities of an instrument like the Cherenkov telescope array (CTA) to study the non-thermal physics of gamma-ray binaries, which requires the observation of high-energy phenomena at different time and spatial scales. We analyze the capability of CTA, under different configurations, to probe the spectral, temporal and spatial behavior of gamma-ray binaries in the context of the known or expected physics of these sources. CTA will be able to probe with high spectral, temporal and spatial resolution the physical processes behind the gamma-ray emission in binaries, significantly increasing as well the number of known sources. This will allow the derivation of information on the particle acceleration and emission sites qualitatively better than what is currently available.
- Pub Date:
- March 2013
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 23 pages, 13 figures, accepted for publication in Astroparticle Physics, special issue on Physics with the Cherenkov Telescope Array