Submitted to Cornell University’s online archive www.arXiv.org in 2006 by Stefan Funk.Aims.We present X-ray and 12CO(J=1-0) observations of the very-high-energy (VHE) -ray source HESS J1813-178 with the aim of understanding the origin of the -ray emission. Methods. High-angular resolution X-ray studies of the VHE -ray emission region are performed using 18.6 ks of XMM-Newton data, taken on HESS J1813-178 in October 2005. Using this data set we are able to undertake spectral and morphological studies of the X-ray emission from this object with greater precision than previous studies. NANTEN 12CO(J=1-0) data are used to search for correlations of the -ray emission with molecular clouds which could act as target material for -ray production in a hadronic scenario. Results.The NANTEN 12CO(J=1-0) observations show a giant molecular cloud of mass at a distance of 4 kpc in the vicinity of HESS J1813-178. Even though there is no direct positional coincidence, this giant cloud may have influenced the evolution of the -ray source and its surroundings. The X-ray data show a highly absorbed ( cm-2) non-thermal X-ray emitting object coincident with the previously known ASCA source AX J1813-178 exhibiting a compact core and an extended tail towards the north-east, located in the centre of the radio shell-type Supernova remnant (SNR) G12.82-0.02 . This central object shows morphological and spectral resemblance to a Pulsar Wind Nebula (PWN) and we therefore consider that this object is very likely to be a composite SNR. We discuss the scenario in which the -rays originate in the shell of the SNR, and that in which they originate in the central object, in terms of a time-dependent one-zone leptonic model. We demonstrate, that in order to connect the core X-ray emission to the VHE -ray emission electrons have to be accelerated to energies of at least 1 PeV.S. Funk, J. A. Hinton, Y. Moriguchi, F. A. Aharonian, Y. Fukui, W. Hofmann, D. Horns, G. Pühlhofer, O. Reimer, G. Rowell, R. Terrier, J. Vink and S. J. Wagne
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