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A Tentative Gamma-Ray Line from Dark Matter Annihilation at the Fermi Large Area Telescope
Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1088/1475-7516/2012/08/007
Abstract: The observation of a gamma-ray line in the cosmic-ray fluxes would be a smoking-gun signature for dark matter annihilation or decay in the Universe. We present an improved search for such signatures in the data of the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), concentrating on energies between 20 and 300 GeV. Besides updating to 43 months of data, we use a new data-driven technique to select optimized target regions depending on the profile of the Galactic dark matter halo. In regions close to the Galactic center, we find a 4.6 sigma indication for a gamma-ray line at 130 GeV. When taking into account the look-elsewhere effect the significance of the observed excess is 3.2 sigma. If interpreted in terms of dark matter particles annihilating into a photon pair, the observations imply a dark matter mass of 129.8\pm2.4^{+7}_{-13} GeV and a partial annihilation cross-section of <\sigma v> = 1.27\pm0.32^{+0.18}_{-0.28} x 10^-27 cm^3 s^-1 when using the Einasto dark matter profile. The evidence for the signal is based on about 50 photons; it will take a few years of additional data to clarify its existence.
Dark Matter Decay and Cosmic Rays
Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2009,
Abstract: The decay of dark matter is predicted by many theoretical models and can produce observable contributions to the cosmic-ray fluxes. I shortly discuss the interpretation of the positron and electron excess as observed by PAMELA and Fermi LAT in terms of decaying dark matter, and I point out the implications for the Fermi LAT observations of the gamma-ray flux with emphasis on its dipole-like anisotropy.
Gamma-ray lines in the Fermi-LAT data?
Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2013,
Abstract: Gamma-ray lines are traditional smoking gun signatures for dark matter annihilation in the Universe. In regions optimized for large signal-to-noise ratio, we identified a signal candidate for a gamma-ray line at energies around 130 GeV with a post-trials significance of 3.2\sigma. Spectral and spatial properties are not inconsistent with a dark matter signal. One year has passed since the initial papers, and I give here a brief summary and an update on the status of the 130 GeV feature in the un-reprocessed P7 gamma-ray data of the Fermi-LAT.
Tentative observation of a gamma-ray line at the Fermi LAT
Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1063/1.4772299
Abstract: Using 43 months of public gamma-ray data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope, we find in regions close to the Galactic center at energies of 130 GeV a 4.6 sigma excess that is not inconsistent with a gamma-ray line from dark matter annihilation. When taking into account the look-elsewhere effect, the significance of the observed signature is 3.2 sigma. If interpreted in terms of dark matter particles annihilating into a photon pair, the observations imply a partial annihilation cross-section of about 10^-27 cm^3s^-1 and a dark matter mass around 130 GeV. We review aspects of the statistical analysis and comment on possible instrumental indications.
Hunting Dark Matter Gamma-Ray Lines with the Fermi LAT
Gilles Vertongen,Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1088/1475-7516/2011/05/027
Abstract: Monochromatic photons could be produced in the annihilation or decay of dark matter particles. At high energies, the search for such line features in the cosmic gamma-ray spectrum is essentially background free because plausible astrophysical processes are not expected to produce such a signal. The observation of a gamma-ray line would hence be a `smoking-gun' signature for dark matter, making the search for such signals particularly attractive. Among the different dark matter models predicting gamma-ray lines, the local supersymmetric extension of the standard model with small R-parity violation and gravitino LSP is of particular interest because it provides a framework where primordial nucleosynthesis, gravitino dark matter and thermal leptogenesis are naturally consistent. Using the two-years Fermi LAT data, we present a dedicated search for gamma-ray lines coming from dark matter annihilation or decay in the Galactic halo. Taking into account the full detector response, and using a binned profile likelihood method, we search for significant line features in the energy spectrum of the diffuse flux observed in different regions of the sky. No evidence for a line signal at the 5-sigma level is found for photon energies between 1 and 300 GeV, and conservative bounds on dark matter decay rates and annihilation cross sections are presented. Implications for gravitino dark matter in presence of small R-parity violation are discussed, as well as the impact of our results on the prospect for seeing long-lived neutralinos or staus at the LHC.
Gamma Ray Signals from Dark Matter: Concepts, Status and Prospects
Torsten Bringmann,Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1016/j.dark.2012.10.005
Abstract: Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) remain a prime candidate for the cosmological dark matter (DM), even in the absence of current collider signals that would unambiguously point to new physics below the TeV scale. The self-annihilation of these particles in astronomical targets may leave observable imprints in cosmic rays of various kinds. In this review, we focus on gamma rays which we argue to play a pronounced role among the various possible messengers. We discuss the most promising spectral and spatial signatures to look for, give an update on the current state of gamma-ray searches for DM and an outlook concerning future prospects. We also assess in some detail the implications of a potential signal identification for particle DM models as well as for our understanding of structure formation. Special emphasis is put on the possible evidence for a 130 GeV line-like signal that was recently identified in the data of the Fermi gamma-ray space telescope.
Decaying Dark Matter in Light of the PAMELA and Fermi LAT Data
Alejandro Ibarra,David Tran,Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1088/1475-7516/2010/01/009
Abstract: A series of experiments measuring high-energy cosmic rays have recently reported strong indications for the existence of an excess of high-energy electrons and positrons. If interpreted in terms of the decay of dark matter particles, the PAMELA measurements of the positron fraction and the Fermi LAT measurements of the total electron-plus-positron flux restrict the possible decaying dark matter scenarios to a few cases. Analyzing different decay channels in a model-independent manner, and adopting a conventional diffusive reacceleration model for the background fluxes of electrons and positrons, we identify some promising scenarios of dark matter decay and calculate the predictions for the diffuse extragalactic gamma-ray flux, including the contributions from inverse Compton scattering with the interstellar radiation field.
Detecting Gamma-Ray Anisotropies from Decaying Dark Matter: Prospects for Fermi LAT
Alejandro Ibarra,David Tran,Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.81.023529
Abstract: Decaying dark matter particles could be indirectly detected as an excess over a simple power law in the energy spectrum of the diffuse extragalactic gamma-ray background. Furthermore, since the Earth is not located at the center of the Galactic dark matter halo, the exotic contribution from dark matter decay to the diffuse gamma-ray flux is expected to be anisotropic, offering a complementary method for the indirect search for decaying dark matter particles. In this paper we discuss in detail the expected dipole-like anisotropies in the dark matter signal, taking also into account the radiation from inverse Compton scattering of electrons and positrons from dark matter decay. A different source for anisotropies in the gamma-ray flux are the dark matter density fluctuations on cosmic scales. We calculate the corresponding angular power spectrum of the gamma-ray flux and comment on observational prospects. Finally, we calculate the expected anisotropies for the decaying dark matter scenarios that can reproduce the electron/positron excesses reported by PAMELA and the Fermi LAT, and we estimate the prospects for detecting the predicted gamma-ray anisotropy in the near future.
The GeV Excess Shining Through: Background Systematics for the Inner Galaxy Analysis
Francesca Calore,Ilias Cholis,Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: Recently, a spatially extended excess of gamma rays collected by the Fermi-LAT from the inner region of the Milky Way has been detected by different groups and with increasingly sophisticated techniques. Yet, any final conclusion about the morphology and spectral properties of such an extended diffuse emission are subject to a number of potentially critical uncertainties, related to the high density of cosmic rays, gas, magnetic fields and abundance of point sources. We will present a thorough study of the systematic uncertainties related to the modelling of diffuse background and to the propagation of cosmic rays in the inner part of our Galaxy. We will test a large set of models for the Galactic diffuse emission, generated by varying the propagation parameters within extreme conditions. By using those models in the analysis of Fermi-LAT data as Galactic foreground, we will show that the gamma-ray excess survives and we will quantify the uncertainties affecting the excess morphology and energy spectrum.
Strong support for the millisecond pulsar origin of the Galactic center GeV excess
Richard Bartels,Suraj Krishnamurthy,Christoph Weniger
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: Using gamma-ray data from the Fermi Large Area Telescope, various groups have identified a clear excess emission in the inner Galaxy, at energies around a few GeV. This excess resembles remarkably well a signal from dark matter annihilation. One of the most compelling astrophysical interpretations is that the excess is caused by the combined effect of a previously undetected population of dim gamma-ray sources. Due to their spectral similarity, the best candidates are millisecond pulsars. Here, we search for this hypothetical source population, using a novel approach based on wavelet decomposition of the gamma-ray sky and the statistics of Gaussian random fields. Using almost seven years of Fermi-LAT data, we detect a clustering of photons as predicted for the hypothetical population of millisecond pulsar, with a statistical significance of 10.8 sigma. For plausible values of the luminosity function, this population explains 100% of the observed excess emission. We argue that other extragalactic or Galactic sources, a mismodeling of Galactic diffuse emission, or the thick-disk population of pulsars are unlikely to account for this observation.
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