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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 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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  3. Abstract We present the results of dark matter (DM) searches in a sample of 31 dwarf irregular (dIrr) galaxies within the field of view of the HAWC Observatory. dIrr galaxies are DM-dominated objects in which astrophysical gamma-ray emission is estimated to be negligible with respect to the secondary gamma-ray flux expected by annihilation or decay of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). While we do not see any statistically significant DM signal in dIrr galaxies, we present the exclusion limits (95% C.L.) for annihilation cross section and decay lifetime for WIMP candidates with masses between 1 and 100 TeV. Exclusion limits from dIrr galaxies are relevant and complementary to benchmark dwarf Spheroidal (dSph) galaxies. In fact, dIrr galaxies are targets kinematically different from benchmark dSph, preserving the footprints of different evolution histories. We compare the limits from dIrr galaxies to those from ultrafaint and classical dSph galaxies previously observed with HAWC. We find that the constraints are comparable to the limits from classical dSph galaxies and ∼2 orders of magnitude weaker than the ultrafaint dSph limits. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  4. Abstract

    We report the detection of very high energy gamma-ray emission from the blazar S3 1227+25 (VER J1230+253) with the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS). VERITAS observations of the source were triggered by the detection of a hard-spectrum GeV flare on 2015 May 15 with the Fermi-Large Area Telescope (LAT). A combined 5 hr VERITAS exposure on May 16 and 18 resulted in a strong 13σdetection with a differential photon spectral index, Γ = 3.8 ± 0.4, and a flux level at 9% of the Crab Nebula above 120 GeV. This also triggered target-of-opportunity observations with Swift, optical photometry, polarimetry, and radio measurements, also presented in this work, in addition to the VERITAS and Fermi-LAT data. A temporal analysis of the gamma-ray flux during this period finds evidence of a shortest variability timescale ofτobs= 6.2 ± 0.9 hr, indicating emission from compact regions within the jet, and the combined gamma-ray spectrum shows no strong evidence of a spectral cutoff. An investigation into correlations between the multiwavelength observations found evidence of optical and gamma-ray correlations, suggesting a single-zone model of emission. Finally, the multiwavelength spectral energy distribution is well described by a simple one-zone leptonic synchrotron self-Compton radiation model.

     
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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Abstract The latest High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) point-like source catalog up to 56 TeV reported the detection of two sources in the region of the Galactic plane at galactic longitude 52° < ℓ < 55°, 3HWC J1930+188 and 3HWC J1928+178. The first one is associated with a known TeV source, the supernova remnant SNR G054.1+00.3. It was discovered by one of the currently operating Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope (IACT), the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS), detected by the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S), and identified as a composite SNR. However, the source 3HWC J1928+178, discovered by HAWC and coincident with the pulsar PSR J1928+1746, was not detected by any IACT despite their long exposure on the region, until a recent new analysis of H.E.S.S. data was able to confirm it. Moreover, no X-ray counterpart has been detected from this pulsar. We present a multicomponent fit of this region using the latest HAWC data. This reveals an additional new source, HAWC J1932+192, which is potentially associated with the pulsar PSR J1932+1916, whose γ -ray emission could come from the acceleration of particles in its pulsar wind nebula. In the case of 3HWC J1928+178, several possible explanations are explored, in an attempt to unveil the origins of the very-high-energy γ -ray emission. 
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  9. 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