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  1. Abstract Dark matter is a key piece of the current cosmological scenario, with weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) a leading dark matter candidate. WIMPs have not been detected in their conventional parameter space (100 GeV ≲ M χ ≲ 100 TeV), a mass range accessible with current Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes. As ultraheavy dark matter (UHDM; M χ ≳ 100 TeV) has been suggested as an underexplored alternative to the WIMP paradigm, we search for an indirect dark matter annihilation signal in a higher mass range (up to 30 PeV) with the VERITAS γ -ray observatory. With 216 hr of observations of four dwarf spheroidal galaxies, we perform an unbinned likelihood analysis. We find no evidence of a γ -ray signal from UHDM annihilation above the background fluctuation for any individual dwarf galaxy nor for a joint-fit analysis, and consequently constrain the velocity-weighted annihilation cross section of UHDM for dark matter particle masses between 1 TeV and 30 PeV. We additionally set constraints on the allowed radius of a composite UHDM particle. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  2. Abstract The ground-based gamma-ray observatory Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS, https://veritas.sao.arizona.edu/ ) is sensitive to photons of astrophysical origin with energies in the range between ≈85 GeV and ≈30 TeV. The instrument consists of four 12 m diameter imaging Cherenkov telescopes operating at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona. VERITAS started four-telescope operations in 2007 and collects about 1100 hr of good-weather data per year. The VERITAS collaboration has published over 100 journal articles since 2008 reporting on gamma-ray observations of a large variety of objects: Galactic sources like supernova remnants, pulsar wind nebulae, and binary systems; extragalactic sources like star-forming galaxies, dwarf-spheroidal galaxies, and highly variable active galactic nuclei. This note presents VTSCat: the catalog of high-level data products from all VERITAS publications. 
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  3. Context. The response of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes to incident γ -ray-initiated showers in the atmosphere changes as the telescopes age due to exposure to light and weather. These aging processes affect the reconstructed energies of the events and γ -ray fluxes. Aims. This work discusses the implementation of signal calibration methods for the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) to account for changes in the optical throughput and detector performance over time. Methods. The total throughput of a Cherenkov telescope is the product of camera-dependent factors, such as the photomultiplier tube gains and their quantum efficiencies, and the mirror reflectivity and Winston cone response to incoming radiation. This document summarizes different methods to determine how the camera gains and mirror reflectivity have evolved over time and how we can calibrate this changing throughput in reconstruction pipelines for imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes. The implementation is validated against seven years of observations with the VERITAS telescopes of the Crab Nebula, which is a reference object in very-high-energy astronomy. Results. Regular optical throughput monitoring and the corresponding signal calibrations are found to be critical for the reconstruction of extensive air shower images. The proposed implementation is applied as a correction to the signals of the photomultiplier tubes in the telescope simulation to produce fine-tuned instrument response functions. This method is shown to be effective for calibrating the acquired γ -ray data and for recovering the correct energy of the events and photon fluxes. At the same time, it keeps the computational effort of generating Monte Carlo simulations for instrument response functions affordably low. 
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  4. Abstract

    Superluminous supernovae (SLSNe) are a rare class of stellar explosions with luminosities ∼ 10–100 times greater than ordinary core-collapse supernovae. One popular model to explain the enhanced optical output of hydrogen-poor (Type I) SLSNe invokes energy injection from a rapidly spinning magnetar. A prediction in this case is that high-energy gamma-rays, generated in the wind nebula of the magnetar, could escape through the expanding supernova ejecta at late times (months or more after optical peak). This paper presents a search for gamma-ray emission in the broad energy band from 100 MeV to 30 TeV from two Type I SLSNe, SN2015bn, and SN2017egm, using observations from Fermi-LAT and VERITAS. Although no gamma-ray emission was detected from either source, the derived upper limits approach the putative magnetar’s spin-down luminosity. Prospects are explored for detecting very-high-energy (VHE; 100 GeV–100 TeV) emission from SLSNe-I with existing and planned facilities such as VERITAS and CTA.

     
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  5. Abstract We report on multiwavelength target-of-opportunity observations of the blazar PKS 0735+178, located 2.°2 away from the best-fit position of the IceCube neutrino event IceCube-211208A detected on 2021 December 8. The source was in a high-flux state in the optical, ultraviolet, X-ray, and GeV γ -ray bands around the time of the neutrino event, exhibiting daily variability in the soft X-ray flux. The X-ray data from Swift-XRT and NuSTAR characterize the transition between the low-energy and high-energy components of the broadband spectral energy distribution (SED), and the γ -ray data from Fermi-LAT, VERITAS, and H.E.S.S. require a spectral cutoff near 100 GeV. Both the X-ray and γ -ray measurements provide strong constraints on the leptonic and hadronic models. We analytically explore a synchrotron self-Compton model, an external Compton model, and a lepto-hadronic model. Models that are entirely based on internal photon fields face serious difficulties in matching the observed SED. The existence of an external photon field in the source would instead explain the observed γ -ray spectral cutoff in both the leptonic and lepto-hadronic models and allow a proton jet power that marginally agrees with the Eddington limit in the lepto-hadronic model. We show a numerical lepto-hadronic model with external target photons that reproduces the observed SED and is reasonably consistent with the neutrino event despite requiring a high jet power. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2024
  6. Abstract HESS J0632+057 belongs to a rare subclass of binary systems that emit gamma rays above 100 GeV. It stands out for its distinctive high-energy light curve, which features a sharp “primary” peak and broader “secondary” peak. We present the results of contemporaneous observations by NuSTAR and VERITAS during the secondary peak between 2019 December and 2020 February, when the orbital phase ( ϕ ) is between 0.55 and 0.75. NuSTAR detected X-ray spectral evolution, while VERITAS detected TeV emission. We fit a leptonic wind-collision model to the multiwavelength spectra data obtained over the four NuSTAR and VERITAS observations, constraining the pulsar spin-down luminosity and the magnetization parameter at the shock. Despite long-term monitoring of the source from 2019 October to 2020 March, the MDM observatory did not detect significant variation in H α and H β line equivalent widths, an expected signature of Be-disk interaction with the pulsar. Furthermore, fitting folded Swift-XRT light-curve data with an intrabinary shock model constrained the orbital parameters, suggesting two orbital phases (at ϕ D = 0.13 and 0.37), where the pulsar crosses the Be-disk, as well as phases for the periastron ( ϕ 0 = 0.30) and inferior conjunction ( ϕ IFC = 0.75). The broadband X-ray spectra with Swift-XRT and NuSTAR allowed us to measure a higher neutral hydrogen column density at one of the predicted disk-passing phases. 
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  7. Abstract

    Flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) are the most luminous blazars at GeV energies but only rarely emit detectable fluxes of TeV gamma rays, typically during bright GeV flares. We explore the gamma-ray variability and spectral characteristics of three FSRQs that have been observed at GeV and TeV energies by Fermi-LAT and VERITAS, making use of almost 100 hr of VERITAS observations spread over 10 yr: 3C 279, PKS 1222+216, and Ton 599. We explain the GeV flux distributions of the sources in terms of a model derived from a stochastic differential equation describing fluctuations in the magnetic field in the accretion disk and estimate the timescales of magnetic flux accumulation and stochastic instabilities in their accretion disks. We identify distinct flares using a procedure based on Bayesian blocks and analyze their daily and subdaily variability and gamma-ray energy spectra. Using observations from VERITAS, as well as Fermi, Swift, and the Steward Observatory, we model the broadband spectral energy distributions of PKS 1222+216 and Ton 599 during very high energy (VHE)–detected flares in 2014 and 2017, respectively, strongly constraining the jet Doppler factors and gamma-ray emission region locations during these events. Finally, we place theoretical constraints on the potential production of PeV-scale neutrinos during these VHE flares.

     
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