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  1. Abstract We use a recent census of the Milky Way (MW) satellite galaxy population to constrain the lifetime of particle dark matter (DM). We consider two-body decaying dark matter (DDM) in which a heavy DM particle decays with lifetime τ comparable to the age of the universe to a lighter DM particle (with mass splitting ϵ ) and to a dark radiation species. These decays impart a characteristic “kick velocity,” V kick = ϵ c , on the DM daughter particles, significantly depleting the DM content of low-mass subhalos and making them more susceptible to tidal disruption. We fit themore »suppression of the present-day DDM subhalo mass function (SHMF) as a function of τ and V kick using a suite of high-resolution zoom-in simulations of MW-mass halos, and we validate this model on new DDM simulations of systems specifically chosen to resemble the MW. We implement our DDM SHMF predictions in a forward model that incorporates inhomogeneities in the spatial distribution and detectability of MW satellites and uncertainties in the mapping between galaxies and DM halos, the properties of the MW system, and the disruption of subhalos by the MW disk using an empirical model for the galaxy–halo connection. By comparing to the observed MW satellite population, we conservatively exclude DDM models with τ < 18 Gyr (29 Gyr) for V kick = 20 kms −1 (40 kms −1 ) at 95% confidence. These constraints are among the most stringent and robust small-scale structure limits on the DM particle lifetime and strongly disfavor DDM models that have been proposed to alleviate the Hubble and S 8 tensions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Abstract On 2019 August 14 at 21:10:39 UTC, the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration (LVC) detected a possible neutron star–black hole merger (NSBH), the first ever identified. An extensive search for an optical counterpart of this event, designated GW190814, was undertaken using the Dark Energy Camera on the 4 m Victor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Target of Opportunity interrupts were issued on eight separate nights to observe 11 candidates using the 4.1 m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope’s Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph in order to assess whether any of these transients was likely to be an optical counterpartmore »of the possible NSBH merger. Here, we describe the process of observing with SOAR, the analysis of our spectra, our spectroscopic typing methodology, and our resultant conclusion that none of the candidates corresponded to the gravitational wave merger event but were all instead other transients. Finally, we describe the lessons learned from this effort. Application of these lessons will be critical for a successful community spectroscopic follow-up program for LVC observing run 4 (O4) and beyond.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT Quantifying tensions – inconsistencies amongst measurements of cosmological parameters by different experiments – has emerged as a crucial part of modern cosmological data analysis. Statistically significant tensions between two experiments or cosmological probes may indicate new physics extending beyond the standard cosmological model and need to be promptly identified. We apply several tension estimators proposed in the literature to the dark energy survey (DES) large-scale structure measurement and Planck cosmic microwave background data. We first evaluate the responsiveness of these metrics to an input tension artificially introduced between the two, using synthetic DES data. We then apply the metricsmore »to the comparison of Planck and actual DES Year 1 data. We find that the parameter differences, Eigentension, and Suspiciousness metrics all yield similar results on both simulated and real data, while the Bayes ratio is inconsistent with the rest due to its dependence on the prior volume. Using these metrics, we calculate the tension between DES Year 1 3 × 2pt and Planck, finding the surveys to be in ∼2.3σ tension under the ΛCDM paradigm. This suite of metrics provides a toolset for robustly testing tensions in the DES Year 3 data and beyond.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Rapidly evolving transients (RETs), also termed fast blue optical transients, are a recently discovered group of astrophysical events that display rapid luminosity evolution. RETs typically rise to peak in less than 10 d and fade within 30, a time-scale unlikely to be compatible with the decay of Nickel-56 that drives conventional supernovae (SNe). Their peak luminosity spans a range of −15 < Mg < −22.5, with some events observed at redshifts greater than 1. Their evolution on fast time-scales has hindered high-quality follow-up observations, and thus their origin and explosion/emission mechanism remains unexplained. In this paper, we present the largestmore »sample of RETs to date, comprising 106 objects discovered by the Dark Energy Survey, and perform the most comprehensive analysis of RET host galaxies. Using deep-stacked photometry and emission lines from OzDES spectroscopy, we derive stellar masses and star formation rates (SFRs) for 49 host galaxies, and metallicities ([O/H]) for 37. We find that RETs explode exclusively in star-forming galaxies and are thus likely associated with massive stars. Comparing RET hosts to samples of host galaxies of other explosive transients as well as field galaxies, we find that RETs prefer galaxies with high specific SFRs (〈log (sSFR)〉 ∼ −9.6), indicating a link to young stellar populations, similar to stripped-envelope SNe. RET hosts appear to show a lack of chemical enrichment, their metallicities akin to long-duration gamma-ray bursts and superluminous SN host galaxies (〈12 + log (O/H)〉 ∼ 9.4). There are no clear relationships between mass or SFR of the host galaxies and the peak magnitudes or decline rates of the transients themselves.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We consider the effects of weak gravitational lensing on observations of 196 spectroscopically confirmed Type Ia Supernovae (SNe Ia) from years 1 to 3 of the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We simultaneously measure both the angular correlation function and the non-Gaussian skewness caused by weak lensing. This approach has the advantage of being insensitive to the intrinsic dispersion of SNe Ia magnitudes. We model the amplitude of both effects as a function of σ8, and find σ8 =1.2$^{+0.9}_{-0.8}$. We also apply our method to a subsample of 488 SNe from the Joint Light-curve Analysis (JLA; chosen to match the redshift rangemore »we use for this work), and find σ8 =0.8$^{+1.1}_{-0.7}$. The comparable uncertainty in σ8 between DES–SN and the larger number of SNe from JLA highlights the benefits of homogeneity of the DES–SN sample, and improvements in the calibration and data analysis.« less