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  1. ABSTRACT Evolved Wolf–Rayet stars form a key aspect of massive star evolution, and their strong outflows determine their final fates. In this study, we calculate grids of stellar models for a wide range of initial masses at five metallicities (ranging from solar down to just 2 per cent solar). We compare a recent hydrodynamically consistent wind prescription with two earlier frequently used wind recipes in stellar evolution and population synthesis modelling, and we present the ranges of maximum final masses at core He-exhaustion for each wind prescription and metallicity Z. Our model grids reveal qualitative differences in mass-loss behaviour of the wind prescriptions in terms of ‘convergence’. Using the prescription from Nugis & Lamers the maximum stellar black hole is found to converge to a value of 20–30 M⊙, independent of host metallicity; however, when utilizing the new physically motivated prescription from Sander & Vink there is no convergence to a maximum black hole mass value. The final mass is simply larger for larger initial He-star mass, which implies that the upper black hole limit for He-stars below the pair-instability gap is set by prior evolution with mass loss, or the pair instability itself. Quantitatively, we find the critical Z for pair-instability (ZPI) tomore »be as high as 50 per cent Z⊙, corresponding to the host metallicity of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Moreover, while the Nugis & Lamers prescription would not predict any black holes above the approx 130 M⊙ pair-instability limit, with Sander & Vink winds included, we demonstrate a potential channel for very massive helium stars to form such massive black holes at ∼2 per cent Z⊙ or below.« less
  2. Abstract Ultra-high-energy photons with energies exceeding 10 17 eV offer a wealth of connections to different aspects of cosmic-ray astrophysics as well as to gamma-ray and neutrino astronomy. The recent observations of photons with energies in the 10 15 eV range further motivate searches for even higher-energy photons. In this paper, we present a search for photons with energies exceeding 2 × 10 17 eV using about 5.5 yr of hybrid data from the low-energy extensions of the Pierre Auger Observatory. The upper limits on the integral photon flux derived here are the most stringent ones to date in the energy region between 10 17 and 10 18 eV.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Abstract Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) is often described by dispersion relations of the form E i 2  =  m i 2 + p i 2 +δ i,n E 2+n with delta different based on particle type i , with energy E , momentum p and rest mass m . Kinematics and energy thresholds of interactions are modified once the LIV terms become comparable to the squared masses of the particles involved. Thus, the strongest constraints on the LIV coefficients δ i,n tend to come from the highest energies. At sufficiently high energies, photons produced by cosmic ray interactions as they propagate through the Universe could be subluminal and unattenuated over cosmological distances. Cosmic ray interactions can also be modified and lead to detectable fingerprints in the energy spectrum and mass composition observed on Earth. The data collected at the Pierre Auger Observatory are therefore possibly sensitive to both the electromagnetic and hadronic sectors of LIV. In this article, we explore these two sectors by comparing the energy spectrum and the composition of cosmic rays and the upper limits on the photon flux from the Pierre Auger Observatory with simulations including LIV. Constraints on LIV parameters depend strongly on the massmore »composition of cosmic rays at the highest energies. For the electromagnetic sector, while no constraints can be obtained in the absence of protons beyond 10 19 eV, we obtain δ γ,0  > -10 -21 , δ γ,1  > -10 -40 eV -1 and δ γ,2  > -10 -58 eV -2 in the case of a subdominant proton component up to 10 20 eV. For the hadronic sector, we study the best description of the data as a function of LIV coefficients and we derive constraints in the hadronic sector such as δ had,0  < 10 -19 , δ had,1  < 10 -38 eV -1 and δ had,2  < 10 -57 eV -2 at 5σ CL.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. Abstract The results of gamma-ray observations of the binary system HESS J0632 + 057 collected during 450 hr over 15 yr, between 2004 and 2019, are presented. Data taken with the atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes H.E.S.S., MAGIC, and VERITAS at energies above 350 GeV were used together with observations at X-ray energies obtained with Swift-XRT, Chandra, XMM-Newton, NuSTAR, and Suzaku. Some of these observations were accompanied by measurements of the H α emission line. A significant detection of the modulation of the very high-energy gamma-ray fluxes with a period of 316.7 ± 4.4 days is reported, consistent with the period of 317.3 ± 0.7 days obtained with a refined analysis of X-ray data. The analysis of data from four orbital cycles with dense observational coverage reveals short-timescale variability, with flux-decay timescales of less than 20 days at very high energies. Flux variations observed over a timescale of several years indicate orbit-to-orbit variability. The analysis confirms the previously reported correlation of X-ray and gamma-ray emission from the system at very high significance, but cannot find any correlation of optical H α parameters with fluxes at X-ray or gamma-ray energies in simultaneous observations. The key finding is that the emission of HESS J0632more »+ 057 in the X-ray and gamma-ray energy bands is highly variable on different timescales. The ratio of gamma-ray to X-ray flux shows the equality or even dominance of the gamma-ray energy range. This wealth of new data is interpreted taking into account the insufficient knowledge of the ephemeris of the system, and discussed in the context of results reported on other gamma-ray binary systems.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  5. Abstract We present a measurement of the cosmic-ray spectrum above 100 PeV using the part of the surface detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory that has a spacing of 750 m. An inflection of the spectrum is observed, confirming the presence of the so-called second-knee feature. The spectrum is then combined with that of the 1500 m array to produce a single measurement of the flux, linking this spectral feature with the three additional breaks at the highest energies. The combined spectrum, with an energy scale set calorimetrically via fluorescence telescopes and using a single detector type, results in the most statistically and systematically precise measurement of spectral breaks yet obtained. These measurements are critical for furthering our understanding of the highest energy cosmic rays.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
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