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Nearby supernova remnants and the cosmic ray spectral hardening at high energies




Recent measurements of cosmic ray spectra of several individual nuclear species by the CREAM, TRACER and ATIC experiments indicate a change in the spectral index of the power laws at TeV energies. Possible explanations among others include non-linear diffusive shock acceleration of cosmic rays, different cosmic ray propagation properties at higher and lower energies in the Galaxy and the presence of nearby sources. In this paper, we show that if supernova remnants are the main sources of cosmic rays in our Galaxy, the effect of the nearby remnants can be responsible for the observed spectral changes. Using a rigidity-dependent escape of cosmic rays from the supernova remnants, we explain the apparent observed property that the hardening of the helium spectrum occurs at relatively lower energies as compared to the protons and also that the spectral hardening does not persist beyond ∼(20–30) TeV energies.