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    We present the largest low frequency (120 MHz) arcminute resolution image of the radio synchrotron background (RSB) to date, and its corresponding angular power spectrum of anisotropies (APS) with angular scales ranging from 3° to 0.3 arcmin. We show that the RSB around the north celestial pole has a significant excess anisotropy power at all scales over a model of unclustered point sources based on source counts of known source classes. This anisotropy excess, which does not seem attributable to the diffuse Galactic emission, could be linked to the surface brightness excess of the RSB. To better understand the information contained within the measured APS, we model the RSB varying the brightness distribution, size, and angular clustering of potential sources. We show that the observed APS could be produced by a population of faint clustered point sources only if the clustering is extreme and the size of the Gaussian clusters is ≲1 arcmin. We also show that the observed APS could be produced by a population of faint diffuse sources with sizes ≲1 arcmin, and this is supported by features present in our image. Both of these cases would also cause an associated surface brightness excess. These classes of sources are in a parameter space not well probed by even the deepest radio surveys to date.

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  2. Abstract

    It was recently proposed that exotic particles can trigger a new stellar instability that is analogous to theee+pair instability if they are produced and reach equilibrium in the stellar plasma. In this study, we construct axion instability supernova (AISN) models caused by the new instability to predict their observational signatures. We focus on heavy axion-like particles (ALPs) with masses of ∼400 keV–2 MeV and coupling with photons ofgaγ∼ 10−5GeV−1. It is found that the56Ni mass and the explosion energy are significantly increased by ALPs for a fixed stellar mass. As a result, the peak times of the light curves of AISNe occur earlier than those of standard pair-instability supernovae by 10–20 days when the ALP mass is equal to the electron mass. Also, the event rate of AISNe is 1.7–2.6 times higher than that of pair-instability supernovae, depending on the high mass cutoff of the initial mass function.

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    Relativistic jets originating from protomagnetar central engines can lead to long duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and are considered potential sources of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and secondary neutrinos. We explore the propagation of such jets through a broad range of progenitors, from stars which have shed their envelopes to supergiants which have not. We use a semi-analytical spin-down model for the strongly magnetized and rapidly rotating protoneutron star (PNS) to investigate the role of central engine properties such as the surface dipole field strength, initial rotation period, and jet opening angle on the interactions and dynamical evolution of the jet-cocoon system. With this model, we determine the properties of the relativistic jet, the mildly relativistic cocoon, and the collimation shock in terms of system parameters such as the time-dependent jet luminosity, injection angle, and density profile of the stellar medium. We also analyse the criteria for a successful jet breakout, the maximum energy that can be deposited into the cocoon by the relativistic jet, and structural stability of the magnetized outflow relative to local instabilities. Lastly, we compute the high-energy neutrino emission as these magnetized outflows burrow through their progenitors. Precursor neutrinos from successful GRB jets are unlikely to be detected by IceCube, which is consistent with the results of previous works. On the other hand, we find that high-energy neutrinos may be produced for extended progenitors like blue and red supergiants, and we estimate the detectability of neutrinos with next generation detectors such as IceCube-Gen2.

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    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 the 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.

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    We explore the assumption, widely used in many astrophysical calculations, that the stellar initial mass function (IMF) is universal across all galaxies. By considering both a canonical broken-power-law IMF and a non-universal IMF, we are able to compare the effect of different IMFs on multiple observables and derived quantities in astrophysics. Specifically, we consider a non-universal IMF that varies as a function of the local star formation rate, and explore the effects on the star formation rate density (SFRD), the extragalactic background light, the supernova (both core-collapse and thermonuclear) rates, and the diffuse supernova neutrino background. Our most interesting result is that our adopted varying IMF leads to much greater uncertainty on the SFRD at $z \approx 2-4$ than is usually assumed. Indeed, we find an SFRD (inferred using observed galaxy luminosity distributions) that is a factor of $\gtrsim 3$ lower than canonical results obtained using a universal IMF. Secondly, the non-universal IMF we explore implies a reduction in the supernova core-collapse rate of a factor of $\sim 2$, compared against a universal IMF. The other potential tracers are only slightly affected by changes to the properties of the IMF. We find that currently available data do not provide a clear preference for universal or non-universal IMF. However, improvements to measurements of the star formation rate and core-collapse supernova rate at redshifts $z \gtrsim 2$ may offer the best prospects for discernment.

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    It has been suggested that strongly magnetized and rapidly rotating protoneutron stars (PNSs) may produce long duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) originating from stellar core collapse. We explore the steady-state properties and heavy element nucleosynthesis in neutrino-driven winds from such PNSs whose magnetic axis is generally misaligned with the axis of rotation. We consider a wide variety of central engine properties such as surface dipole field strength, initial rotation period, and magnetic obliquity to show that heavy element nuclei can be synthesized in the radially expanding wind. This process is facilitated provided the outflow is Poynting-flux dominated such that its low entropy and fast expansion time-scale enables heavy nuclei to form in a more efficient manner as compared to the equivalent thermal GRB outflows. We also examine the acceleration and survival of these heavy nuclei and show that they can reach sufficiently high energies ≳ 1020 eV within the same physical regions that are also responsible for powering gamma-ray emission, primarily through magnetic dissipation processes. Although these magnetized outflows generally fail to achieve the production of elements heavier than lanthanides for our explored electron fraction range 0.4–0.6, we show that they are more than capable of synthesizing nuclei near and beyond iron peak elements.

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    We study the nucleosynthesis products in neutrino-driven winds from rapidly rotating, highly magnetized and misaligned protomagnetars using the nuclear reaction network SkyNet. We adopt a semi-analytic parametrized model for the protomagnetar and systematically study the capabilities of its neutrino-driven wind for synthesizing nuclei and eventually producing ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs). We find that for neutron-rich outflows (Ye < 0.5), synthesis of heavy elements ($\overline{A}\sim 20-65$) is possible during the first $\sim 10\, {\rm s}$ of the outflow, but these nuclei are subjected to composition-altering photodisintegration during the epoch of particle acceleration at the dissipation radii. However, after the first $\sim 10\, {\rm s}$ of the outflow, nucleosynthesis reaches lighter elements ($\overline{A}\sim 10-50$) that are not subjected to subsequent photodisintegration. For proton-rich (Ye ≥ 0.5) outflows, synthesis is more limited ($\overline{A}\sim 4-15$). These suggest that while protomagnetars typically do not synthesize nuclei heavier than second r-process peak elements, they are intriguing sources of intermediate/heavy mass UHECRs. For all configurations, the most rapidly rotating protomagnetars are more conducive for nucleosynthesis with a weaker dependence on the magnetic field strength.

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  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024