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  1. Abstract

    The Breakthrough Listen Initiative is conducting a program using multiple telescopes around the world to search for “technosignatures”: artificial transmitters of extraterrestrial origin from beyond our solar system. The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) Collaboration joined this program in 2018 and provides the capability to search for one particular technosignature: optical pulses of a few nanoseconds in duration detectable over interstellar distances. We report here on the analysis and results of dedicated VERITAS observations of Breakthrough Listen targets conducted in 2019 and 2020 and of archival VERITAS data collected since 2012. Thirty hours of dedicated observations of 136 targets and 249 archival observations of 140 targets were analyzed and did not reveal any signals consistent with a technosignature. The results are used to place limits on the fraction of stars hosting transmitting civilizations. We also discuss the minimum pulse sensitivity of our observations and present VERITAS observations of CALIOP: a space-based pulsed laser on board the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations. The detection of these pulses with VERITAS, using the analysis techniques developed for our technosignature search, allows a test of our analysis efficiency and serves as an important proof of principle.

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  2. Abstract The ground-based gamma-ray observatory Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS, ) 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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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 10, 2024
  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
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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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