skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Crocker, Roland"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.


    Since the discovery of an excess in gamma rays in the direction of M31, its cause has been unclear. Published interpretations focus on dark matter or stellar related origins. Studies of a similar excess in the Milky Way centre motivate a correlation of the spatial morphology of the signal with the distribution of stellar mass in M31. However, a robust determination of the best theory for the observed excess emission is challenging due to uncertainties in the astrophysical gamma-ray foreground model. We perform a spectro-morphological analysis of the M31 gamma-ray excess using state-of-the-art templates for the distribution of stellar mass in M31 and novel astrophysical foreground models for its sky region. We construct maps for the old stellar populations of M31 based on data from the PAndAS survey and carefully remove the foreground stars. We also produce improved astrophysical foreground models via novel image inpainting techniques based on machine learning methods. Our stellar maps, mimicking the location of a population of millisecond pulsars in the bulge of M31, reach a 5.4σ significance, making them as strongly favoured as the simple phenomenological models usually considered in the literature, e.g. disc-like templates. This detection is robust to generous variations of themore »astrophysical foreground model. Once the stellar templates are included in the astrophysical model, we show that the dark matter annihilation interpretation of the signal is unwarranted. We demonstrate that about one million unresolved millisecond pulsars naturally explain the observed gamma-ray luminosity per stellar mass, energy spectrum, and stellar bulge-to-disc flux ratio.

    « less
  2. ABSTRACT Odd radio circles (ORCs) are recently-discovered faint diffuse circles of radio emission, of unknown cause, surrounding galaxies at moderate redshift (z ∼ 0.2 – 0.6). Here, we present detailed new MeerKAT radio images at 1284 MHz of the first ORC, originally discovered with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, with higher resolution (6 arcsec) and sensitivity (∼ 2.4 μJy/beam). In addition to the new images, which reveal a complex internal structure consisting of multiple arcs, we also present polarization and spectral index maps. Based on these new data, we consider potential mechanisms that may generate the ORCs.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 29, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT Millisecond pulsars are very likely the main source of gamma-ray emission from globular clusters. However, the relative contributions of two separate emission processes – curvature radiation from millisecond pulsar magnetospheres versus inverse Compton emission from relativistic pairs launched into the globular cluster environment by millisecond pulsars – have long been unclear. To address this, we search for evidence of inverse Compton emission in 8-yr Fermi–LAT data from the directions of 157 Milky Way globular clusters. We find a mildly statistically significant (3.8σ) correlation between the measured globular cluster gamma-ray luminosities and their photon field energy densities. However, this may also be explained by a hidden correlation between the photon field densities and the stellar encounter rates of globular clusters. Analysed in toto, we demonstrate that the gamma-ray emission of globular clusters can be resolved spectrally into two components: (i) an exponentially cut-off power law and (ii) a pure power law. The latter component – which we uncover at a significance of 8.2σ – has a power index of 2.79 ± 0.25. It is most naturally interpreted as inverse Compton emission by cosmic-ray electrons and positrons injected by millisecond pulsars. We find the luminosity of this power-law component is comparable to, ormore »slightly smaller than, the luminosity of the curved component, suggesting the fraction of millisecond pulsar spin-down luminosity into relativistic leptons is similar to the fraction of the spin-down luminosity into prompt magnetospheric radiation.« less
  4. ABSTRACT The leading explanation of the Fermi Galactic Centre γ-ray excess is the extended emission from an unresolved population of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) in the Galactic bulge. Such a population would, along with the prompt γ-rays, also inject large quantities of electrons/positrons (e±) into the interstellar medium. These e± could potentially inverse-Compton (IC) scatter ambient photons into γ-rays that fall within the sensitivity range of the upcoming Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). In this article, we examine the detection potential of CTA to this signature by making a realistic estimation of the systematic uncertainties on the Galactic diffuse emission model at TeV-scale γ-ray energies. We forecast that, in the event that e± injection spectra are harder than E−2, CTA has the potential to robustly discover the IC signature of a putative Galactic bulge MSP population sufficient to explain the Galactic Centre excess for e± injection efficiencies in the range of ≈2.9–74.1 per cent, or higher, depending on the level of mismodelling of the Galactic diffuse emission components. On the other hand, for spectra softer than E−2.5, a reliable CTA detection would require an unphysically large e± injection efficiency of ${\gtrsim} 158{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. However, even this pessimistic conclusion may be avoided inmore »the plausible event that MSP observational and/or modelling uncertainties can be reduced. We further find that, in the event that an IC signal were detected, CTA can successfully discriminate between an MSP and a dark matter origin for the radiating e±.« less
  5. Abstract We have found a class of circular radio objects in the Evolutionary Map of the Universe Pilot Survey, using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The objects appear in radio images as circular edge-brightened discs, about one arcmin diameter, that are unlike other objects previously reported in the literature. We explore several possible mechanisms that might cause these objects, but none seems to be a compelling explanation.