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  1. This whitepaper focuses on the astrophysical systematics which are encountered in dark matter searches. Oftentimes in indirect and also in direct dark matter searches, astrophysical systematics are a major limiting factor to sensitivity to dark matter. Just as there are many forms of dark matter searches, there are many forms of backgrounds. We attempt to cover the major systematics arising in dark matter searches using photons -- radio and gamma rays -- to cosmic rays, neutrinos and gravitational waves. Examples include astrophysical sources of cosmic messengers and their interactions which can mimic dark matter signatures. In turn, these depend on commensurate studies in understanding the cosmic environment -- gas distributions, magnetic field configurations -- as well as relevant nuclear astrophysics. We also cover the astrophysics governing celestial bodies and galaxies used to probe dark matter, from black holes to dwarf galaxies. Finally, we cover astrophysical backgrounds related to probing the dark matter distribution and kinematics, which impact a wide range of dark matter studies. In the future, the rise of multi-messenger astronomy, and novel analysis methods to exploit it for dark matter, will offer various strategic ways to continue to enhance our understanding of astrophysical backgrounds to deliver improved sensitivitymore »to dark matter.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 13, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT We present the first targeted measurement of the power spectrum of anisotropies of the radio synchrotron background, at 140 MHz, where it is the overwhelmingly dominant photon background. This measurement is important for understanding the background level of radio sky brightness, which is dominated by steep-spectrum synchrotron radiation at frequencies below ν ∼ 0.5 GHz and has been measured to be significantly higher than that produced by known classes of extragalactic sources and most models of Galactic halo emission. We determine the anisotropy power spectrum on scales ranging from 2° to 0.2 arcmin with Low-Frequency Array observations of two 18-deg2 fields – one centred on the Northern hemisphere’s coldest patch of radio sky where the Galactic contribution is smallest and the other offset from that location by 15°. We find that the anisotropy power is higher than that attributable to the distribution of point sources above 100 $\mu$Jy in flux. This level of radio anisotropy power indicates that if it results from point sources, those sources are likely at low fluxes and incredibly numerous, and likely clustered in a specific manner.
  3. ABSTRACT Gamma-ray observations have revealed strong variability in blazar luminosities in the gamma-ray band over time-scales as short as minutes. We show, for the first time, that the correlation of the spectrum with intensity is consistent with the behaviour of the luminosity variation of blazar spectral energy distributions (SEDs) along a blazar sequence for low synchrotron peak blazars. We show that the observational signatures of variability with flux are consistent with wakefield acceleration of electrons initiated by instabilities in the blazar accretion disc. This mechanism reproduces the observed time variations as short as 100 s. The wakefield mechanism also predicts a reduction of the electron spectral index with increased gamma-ray luminosity, which could be detected in higher energy observations well above the inverse Compton peak.
  4. Abstract

    The next core-collapse supernova in the Milky Way or its satellites will represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to obtain detailed information about the explosion of a star and provide significant scientific insight for a variety of fields because of the extreme conditions found within. Supernovae in our galaxy are not only rare on a human timescale but also happen at unscheduled times, so it is crucial to be ready and use all available instruments to capture all possible information from the event. The first indication of a potential stellar explosion will be the arrival of a bright burst of neutrinos. Its observation by multiple detectors worldwide can provide an early warning for the subsequent electromagnetic fireworks, as well as signal to other detectors with significant backgrounds so they can store their recent data. The supernova early warning system (SNEWS) has been operating as a simple coincidence between neutrino experiments in automated mode since 2005. In the current era of multi-messenger astronomy there are new opportunities for SNEWS to optimize sensitivity to science from the next galactic supernova beyond the simple early alert. This document is the product of a workshop in June 2019 towards design of SNEWS 2.0, an upgradedmore »SNEWS with enhanced capabilities exploiting the unique advantages of prompt neutrino detection to maximize the science gained from such a valuable event.

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  5. Abstract

    We use very long baseline interferometry to measure the proper motions of three black hole X-ray binaries (BHXBs). Using these results together with data from the literature and Gaia DR2 to collate the best available constraints on proper motion, parallax, distance, and systemic radial velocity of 16 BHXBs, we determined their three-dimensional Galactocentric orbits. We extended this analysis to estimate the probability distribution for the potential kick velocity (PKV) a BHXB system could have received on formation. Constraining the kicks imparted to BHXBs provides insight into the birth mechanism of black holes (BHs). Kicks also have a significant effect on BH–BH merger rates, merger sites, and binary evolution, and can be responsible for spin–orbit misalignment in BH binary systems. 75 per cent of our systems have potential kicks $\gt 70\, \rm {km\,s^{-1}}$. This suggests that strong kicks and hence spin–orbit misalignment might be common among BHXBs, in agreement with the observed quasi-periodic X-ray variability in their power density spectra. We used a Bayesian hierarchical methodology to analyse the PKV distribution of the BHXB population, and suggest that a unimodal Gaussian model with a mean of 107 $\pm \,\,16\, \rm {km\,s^{-1}}$ is a statistically favourable fit. Such relatively high PKVs would alsomore »reduce the number of BHs likely to be retained in globular clusters. We found no significant correlation between the BH mass and PKV, suggesting a lack of correlation between BH mass and the BH birth mechanism. Our python code allows the estimation of the PKV for any system with sufficient observational constraints.

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