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Detection of gamma-ray sources and search for dark matter signals with Cherenkov Telescope Array surveys : dissertation
Veronika Vodeb, 2024, doktorska disertacija

Opis: Gamma rays serve as important messengers in modern astrophysics, offering insights into the most energetic processes in the cosmos. Advancements in gamma-ray astronomy, facilitated by international scientific collaboration, have expanded its reach and capabilities. The Fermi-Large Area Telescope (Fermi-LAT) has so far contributed immensely to our understanding of the gamma-ray sky at GeV energies, surveying numerous source classes. At the same time, ground-based observatories like H.E.S.S., MAGIC, VERITAS, HAWC, and LHASSO, enable the exploration of high-energy (HE) phenomena across various energy scales, reaching the PeV range. The collective data from Fermi-LAT and ground-based instruments provide a comprehensive picture of cosmic phenomena across diverse energy regimes. Efforts to catalog HE gamma-ray sources have resulted in the detection of several thousand sources at GeV, including Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe), Supernova Remnants (SNRs), pulsars, blazars, and Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs), with the observational capability to study their spectral and spatial morphology enhancing our understanding of their origin and evolution. Looking ahead, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) represents the next frontier in ground-based gamma-ray astronomy. Operating at very high energies (VHE) between 20 GeV and 300 TeV, CTA's improved sensitivity, angular resolution, and expanded field of view (FoV) promise enhanced imaging of extended sources and performance of large-scale surveys. CTA's Key Science Projects (KSPs) include the Extragalactic (EGAL) survey, a survey of a quarter of the extragalactic sky, and the Galactic Plane Survey (GPS), a survey of the entire Galactic Plane (GP). The KSPs will receive dedicated observation time and careful planning to ensure the optimization of their scientific output. As CTA is currently entering the construction phase, simulations are being extensively employed to predict its response to various signals, playing a vital role in comprehending CTA's response and sensitivity to different signals. The derived predictions are paving the way for estimating the CTA's scientific output, informing the observational strategy, and ensuring its success in maximizing the contribution to HE gamma-ray astronomy. In this thesis, I contribute to assessing the sensitivity of the CTA surveys, particularly the GPS and the EGAL survey, to diverse astrophysical sources and signals. Focusing on the GPS, I delve into understanding the detectability of pulsar halos, which emit multi-TeV gamma rays, the detection of which was recently reported by the HAWC Observatory. The study involves a spatial-spectral likelihood analysis, evaluating sensitivity to simple Gaussian extended sources and physically modeled sources. Employing a template-fitting approach, I analyze CTA's GPS sensitivity to extended sources and explore the prospects for pulsar halo detection and characterization. A preliminary population study addresses the visibility of pulsar halos to CTA's GPS and explores the angular sensitivity to extended sources. The thesis sets the detectability prospects of pulsar halos with CTA and investigates what fraction of the preliminary pulsar halo population CTA will be able to probe. The thesis extends its exploration into the persistent mystery of dark matter (DM), a fundamental puzzle in cosmology. The search for DM signals remains a vigorous pursuit in the physics community, utilizing various astrophysical messengers resulting from DM particle annihilation or decay. I investigate the potential of CTA's GPS to detect dark sub-halos within our galaxy, utilizing a similar approach as in the sensitivity assessment to pulsar halos, applied to recent sub-halo population simulations. Furthermore, the thesis addresses the intricate task of disentangling DM components from astrophysical contributions in the observed gamma-ray sky. In terms of the EGAL survey, employing advanced statistical methods such as the cross-correlation technique, I explore the prospects of using CTA's EGAL survey to correlate the Extragalactic Gamma-ray Background (EGRB) with galaxy catalogs, providing insights into DM properties. While traditional methods rely on likelihood analysis with background subtraction or template fitting, the emergence of supervised machine learning (ML) offers a novel, potentially more effective approach for cataloging the sky. The thesis touches upon the usability of ML in the high and VHE gamma-ray sky. My study focuses on CTA's GPS and utilizes deep-learning-based algorithms in a detection pipeline for the automatic classification of extended sources from gamma-ray data. As CTA stands at the forefront of gamma-ray astronomy as the next-generation observatory, the research presented in this thesis contributes a small step towards answering the open questions about pulsar halos and DM, showcasing the potential breakthroughs that may emerge from CTA's observations. The detailed likelihood analysis performed aims to advance our understanding of these enigmas, from the physical intricacies of pulsar halos to the elusive nature of DM, driven by curiosity about the continuous exploration of the Universe's mysteries.
Ključne besede: high-energy gamma-ray astronomy, astroparticle physics, Cherenkov Telescope Array, pulsar halos, dark matter, dissertations
Objavljeno v RUNG: 06.06.2024; Ogledov: 229; Prenosov: 4
.pdf Celotno besedilo (36,25 MB)

Sensitivity of the Cherenkov Telescope Array to a dark matter signal from the Galactic centre
Christopher Eckner, Saptashwa Bhattacharyya, Barbara MARČUN, Judit Pérez Romero, Samo Stanič, Veronika Vodeb, Serguei Vorobiov, Gabrijela Zaharijas, Marko Zavrtanik, Danilo Zavrtanik, Miha Živec, 2021, objavljeni znanstveni prispevek na konferenci

Opis: High-energy gamma rays are promising tools to constrain or reveal the nature of dark matter, in particular Weakly Interacting Massive Particles. Being well into its pre-construction phase, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will soon probe the sky in the 20 GeV - 300 TeV energy range. Thanks to its improved energy and angular resolutions as well as significantly larger e˙ective area when compared to the current generation of Cherenkov telescopes, CTA is expected to probe heavier dark matter, with unprecedented sensitivity, reaching the thermal annihilation cross-section at 1 TeV. This talk will summarise the planned dark matter search strategies with CTA, focusing on the signal from the Galactic centre. As observed with the Fermi LAT at lower energies, this region is rather complex and CTA will be the first ground-based observatory sensitive to the large scale di˙use astrophysical emission from that region. We report on the collaboration e˙ort to study the impact of such extended astrophysical backgrounds on the dark matter search, based on Fermi-LAT data in order to guide our observational strategies, taking into account various sources of systematic uncertainty.
Ključne besede: high-energy gamma rays, Cherenkov Telescope Array, dark matter, galactic centre
Objavljeno v RUNG: 18.09.2023; Ogledov: 738; Prenosov: 8
.pdf Celotno besedilo (2,47 MB)
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Sensitivity of the Cherenkov Telescope Array to TeV photon emission from the Large Magellanic Cloud
A. Acharyya, R. Adam, Saptashwa Bhattacharyya, Samo Stanič, Veronika Vodeb, Serguei Vorobiov, Gabrijela Zaharijas, Danilo Zavrtanik, Marko Zavrtanik, Miha Živec, 2023, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: A deep survey of the Large Magellanic Cloud at ∼ 0.1−100 TeV photon energies with the Cherenkov Telescope Array is planned. We assess the detection prospects based on a model for the emission of the galaxy, comprising the four known TeV emitters, mock populations of sources, and interstellar emission on galactic scales. We also assess the detectability of 30 Doradus and SN 1987A, and the constraints that can be derived on the nature of dark matter. The survey will allow for fine spectral studies of N 157B, N 132D, LMC P3, and 30 Doradus C, and half a dozen other sources should be revealed, mainly pulsar-powered objects. The remnant from SN 1987A could be detected if it produces cosmic-ray nuclei with a flat power-law spectrum at high energies, or with a steeper index 2.3−2.4 pending a flux increase by a factor > 3−4 over ∼ 2015−2035. Large-scale interstellar emission remains mostly out of reach of the survey if its > 10 GeV spectrum has a soft photon index ∼ 2.7, but degree-scale 0.1 − 10 TeV pion-decay emission could be detected if the cosmic-ray spectrum hardens above >100 GeV. The 30 Doradus star-forming region is detectable if acceleration efficiency is on the order of 1 − 10% of the mechanical luminosity and diffusion is suppressed by two orders of magnitude within < 100 pc. Finally, the survey could probe the canonical velocity-averaged cross section for self-annihilation of weakly interacting massive particles for cuspy Navarro-Frenk-White profiles.
Ključne besede: very-high energy (VHE) gamma-rays, Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory, Large Magellanic Cloud, pulsar wind nebulas, galaxiesstar-forming regions, cosmic rays, dark matter
Objavljeno v RUNG: 02.06.2023; Ogledov: 1361; Prenosov: 1
.pdf Celotno besedilo (3,66 MB)

Testing the predictions of axisymmetric distribution functions of galactic dark matter with hydrodynamical simulations
Mihael Petač, Julien Lavalle, Arturo Núñez-Castiñeyra, Emmanuel Nezri, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: Signal predictions for galactic dark matter (DM) searches often rely on assumptions regarding the DM phase-space distribution function (DF) in halos. This applies to both particle (e.g. p-wave suppressed or Sommerfeld-enhanced annihilation, scattering off atoms, etc.) and macroscopic DM candidates (e.g. microlensing of primordial black holes). As experiments and observations improve in precision, better assessing theoretical uncertainties becomes pressing in the prospect of deriving reliable constraints on DM candidates or trustworthy hints for detection. Most reliable predictions of DFs in halos are based on solving the steady-state collisionless Boltzmann equation (e.g. Eddington-like inversions, action-angle methods, etc.) consistently with observational constraints. One can do so starting from maximal symmetries and a minimal set of degrees of freedom, and then increasing complexity. Key issues are then whether adding complexity, which is computationally costy, improves predictions, and if so where to stop. Clues can be obtained by making predictions for zoomed-in hydrodynamical cosmological simulations in which one can access the true (coarse-grained) phase-space information. Here, we test an axisymmetric extension of the Eddington inversion to predict the full DM DF from its density profile and the total gravitational potential of the system. This permits to go beyond spherical symmetry, and is a priori well suited for spiral galaxies. We show that axisymmetry does not necessarily improve over spherical symmetry because the (observationally unconstrained) angular momentum of the DM halo is not generically aligned with the baryonic one. Theoretical errors are similar to those of the Eddington inversion though, at the 10-20% level for velocity-dependent predictions related to particle DM searches in spiral galaxies. We extensively describe the approach and comment on the results.
Ključne besede: galaxy dynamics, dark matter experiments, dark matter simulations, dark matter theory, cosmology, nongalactic astrophysics, astrophysics of galaxies, high energy physics
Objavljeno v RUNG: 01.10.2021; Ogledov: 2203; Prenosov: 65
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Two-integral distribution functions in axisymmetric galaxies: Implications for dark matter searches
Mihael Petač, Piero Ullio, 2019, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: We address the problem of reconstructing the phase-space distribution function for an extended collisionless system, with known density profile and in equilibrium within an axisymmetric gravitational potential. Assuming that it depends on only two integrals of motion, namely the energy and the component of the angular momentum along the axis of symmetry Lz , there is a one-to-one correspondence between the density profile and the component of the distribution function that is even in Lz, as well as between the weighted azimuthal velocity profile and the odd component. This inversion procedure was originally proposed by Lynden-Bell and later refined in its numerical implementation by Hunter and Qian; after overcoming a technical difficulty, we apply it here for the first time in presence of a strongly flattened component, as a novel approach of extracting the phase-space distribution function for dark matter particles in the halo of spiral galaxies. We compare results obtained for realistic axisymmetric models to those in the spherical symmetric limit as assumed in previous analyses, showing the rather severe shortcomings in the latter. We then apply the scheme to the Milky Way and discuss the implications for the direct dark matter searches. In particular, we reinterpret the null results of the Xenon1T experiment for spin-(in)dependent interactions and make predictions for the annual modulation of the signal for a set of axisymmetric models, including a self-consistently defined corotating halo.
Ključne besede: dark matter, astrophysics of galaxies, high energy physics, phenomenology
Objavljeno v RUNG: 01.10.2021; Ogledov: 2063; Prenosov: 0
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Equilibrium axisymmetric halo model for the Milky Way and its implications for direct and indirect dark matter searches
Mihael Petač, 2020, izvirni znanstveni članek

Opis: We for the first time provide self-consistent axisymmetric phase-space distribution models for the Milky Way's dark matter (DM) halo which are carefully matched against the latest kinematic measurements through Bayesian analysis. By using broad priors on the individual galactic components, we derive conservative estimates for the astrophysical factors entering the interpretation of direct and indirect DM searches. While the resulting DM density profiles are in good agreement with previous studies, implying ρ⊙≈10-2 M⊙/pc3, the presence of baryonic disc leads to significant differences in the local DM velocity distribution in comparison with the standard halo model. For direct detection, this implies roughly 30% stronger cross section limits at DM masses near detectors maximum sensitivity and up to an order of magnitude weaker limits at the lower end of the mass range. Furthermore, by performing Monte Carlo simulations for the upcoming DARWIN and DarkSide-20k experiments, we demonstrate that upon successful detection of heavy DM with coupling just below the current limits, the carefully constructed axisymmetric models can eliminate bias and reduce uncertainties by more then 50% in the reconstructed DM coupling and mass, but also help in a more reliable determination of the scattering operator. Furthermore, the velocity anisotropies induced by the baryonic disc can lead to significantly larger annual modulation amplitude and sizable differences in the directional distribution of the expected DM-induced events. For indirect searches, we provide the differential J factors and compute several moments of the relative velocity distribution that are needed for predicting the rate of velocity-dependent annihilations. However, we find that accurate predictions are still hindered by large uncertainties regarding the DM distribution near the galactic center.
Ključne besede: dark matter, astrophysics, galaxies, high energy physics, experiments, phenomenology
Objavljeno v RUNG: 01.10.2021; Ogledov: 2001; Prenosov: 41
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