Sunday, September 07, 2014

[1409.1572] Improving the Sensitivity of Gamma-Ray Telescopes to Dark Matter Annihilation in Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies

[1409.1572] Improving the Sensitivity of Gamma-Ray Telescopes to Dark Matter Annihilation in Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies:

"The Fermi-LAT collaboration has studied the gamma-ray emission from a stacked population of dwarf spheroidal galaxies and used this information to set constraints on the dark matter annihilation cross section. Interestingly, their analysis uncovered an excess with a test statistic (TS) of 8.7. If interpreted naively, this constitutes a 2.95 sigma local excess (p-value=0.003), relative to the expectations of their background model. In order to further test this interpretation, the Fermi-LAT team studied a large number of blank sky locations and found TS>8.7 excesses to be more common than predicted by their background model, decreasing the significance of their dwarf excess to 2.2 sigma (p-value=0.027). We argue that these TS>8.7 blank sky locations are largely the result of unresolved blazars, radio galaxies, and starforming galaxies, and show that multi-wavelength information can be used to reduce the degree to which such sources contaminate the otherwise blank sky. In particular, we show that masking regions of the sky that lie within 1 degree of sources contained in the BZCAT or CRATES catalogs reduces the fraction of blank sky locations with TS>8.7 by more than a factor of two. Taking such multi-wavelength information into account can enable experiments such as Fermi to better characterize their backgrounds and increase their sensitivity to dark matter in dwarf galaxies, the most important of which remain largely uncontaminated by unresolved point sources. We also note that for the range of dark matter masses and annihilation cross sections currently being tested by studies of dwarf spheroidal galaxies, simulations predict that Fermi should be able to detect a significant number of dark matter subhalos. These subhalos constitute a population of sub-threshold gamma-ray point sources and represent an irreducible background for searches for dark matter annihilation in dwarf galaxies."

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