Discovery of GeV Emission from the Circinus galaxy with the Fermi-LAT

We report the discovery of gamma-ray emission from the Circinus galaxy using the Large Area Telescope (LAT) onboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Circinus is a nearby (~4 Mpc) starburst with a heavily obscured Seyfert-type active nucleus, bipolar radio lobes perpendicular to the spiral disk, and kpc-scale jet-like structures. Our analysis of 0.1-100 GeV events collected during 4 years of LAT observations reveals a significant (~ 7.3 sigma) excess above the background. We find no indications of variability or spatial extension beyond the LAT point-spread function. A power-law model used to describe the 0.1-100 GeV gamma-ray spectrum yields a flux of (18.8+/-5.8)x10^{-9} ph cm^{-2} s^{-1} and photon index 2.19+/-0.12, corresponding to an isotropic gamma-ray luminosity of 3 x 10^{40} erg s^{-1}. This observed gamma-ray luminosity exceeds the luminosity expected from cosmic-ray interactions in the interstellar medium and inverse Compton radiation from the radio lobes. Thus the origin of the GeV excess requires further investigation.

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Date added: Wed, 9 Oct 13