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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Abstract

    Flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) are the most luminous blazars at GeV energies but only rarely emit detectable fluxes of TeV gamma rays, typically during bright GeV flares. We explore the gamma-ray variability and spectral characteristics of three FSRQs that have been observed at GeV and TeV energies by Fermi-LAT and VERITAS, making use of almost 100 hr of VERITAS observations spread over 10 yr: 3C 279, PKS 1222+216, and Ton 599. We explain the GeV flux distributions of the sources in terms of a model derived from a stochastic differential equation describing fluctuations in the magnetic field in the accretion disk and estimate the timescales of magnetic flux accumulation and stochastic instabilities in their accretion disks. We identify distinct flares using a procedure based on Bayesian blocks and analyze their daily and subdaily variability and gamma-ray energy spectra. Using observations from VERITAS, as well as Fermi, Swift, and the Steward Observatory, we model the broadband spectral energy distributions of PKS 1222+216 and Ton 599 during very high energy (VHE)–detected flares in 2014 and 2017, respectively, strongly constraining the jet Doppler factors and gamma-ray emission region locations during these events. Finally, we place theoretical constraints on the potential production of PeV-scale neutrinos during these VHE flares.

     
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  4. 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
  5. 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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  6. ABSTRACT MAXI J1820+070 is a low-mass X-ray binary with a black hole (BH) as a compact object. This binary underwent an exceptionally bright X-ray outburst from 2018 March to October, showing evidence of a non-thermal particle population through its radio emission during this whole period. The combined results of 59.5 h of observations of the MAXI J1820+070 outburst with the H.E.S.S., MAGIC and VERITAS experiments at energies above 200 GeV are presented, together with Fermi-LAT data between 0.1 and 500 GeV, and multiwavelength observations from radio to X-rays. Gamma-ray emission is not detected from MAXI J1820+070, but the obtained upper limits and the multiwavelength data allow us to put meaningful constraints on the source properties under reasonable assumptions regarding the non-thermal particle population and the jet synchrotron spectrum. In particular, it is possible to show that, if a high-energy (HE) gamma-ray emitting region is present during the hard state of the source, its predicted flux should be at most a factor of 20 below the obtained Fermi-LAT upper limits, and closer to them for magnetic fields significantly below equipartition. During the state transitions, under the plausible assumption that electrons are accelerated up to ∼500 GeV, the multiwavelength data and the gamma-ray upper limits lead consistently to the conclusion that a potential HE and very-HE gamma-ray emitting region should be located at a distance from the BH ranging between 1011 and 1013 cm. Similar outbursts from low-mass X-ray binaries might be detectable in the near future with upcoming instruments such as CTA. 
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  7. Context. The response of imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes to incident γ -ray-initiated showers in the atmosphere changes as the telescopes age due to exposure to light and weather. These aging processes affect the reconstructed energies of the events and γ -ray fluxes. Aims. This work discusses the implementation of signal calibration methods for the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) to account for changes in the optical throughput and detector performance over time. Methods. The total throughput of a Cherenkov telescope is the product of camera-dependent factors, such as the photomultiplier tube gains and their quantum efficiencies, and the mirror reflectivity and Winston cone response to incoming radiation. This document summarizes different methods to determine how the camera gains and mirror reflectivity have evolved over time and how we can calibrate this changing throughput in reconstruction pipelines for imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes. The implementation is validated against seven years of observations with the VERITAS telescopes of the Crab Nebula, which is a reference object in very-high-energy astronomy. Results. Regular optical throughput monitoring and the corresponding signal calibrations are found to be critical for the reconstruction of extensive air shower images. The proposed implementation is applied as a correction to the signals of the photomultiplier tubes in the telescope simulation to produce fine-tuned instrument response functions. This method is shown to be effective for calibrating the acquired γ -ray data and for recovering the correct energy of the events and photon fluxes. At the same time, it keeps the computational effort of generating Monte Carlo simulations for instrument response functions affordably low. 
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  8. Abstract HESS J0632+057 belongs to a rare subclass of binary systems that emit gamma rays above 100 GeV. It stands out for its distinctive high-energy light curve, which features a sharp “primary” peak and broader “secondary” peak. We present the results of contemporaneous observations by NuSTAR and VERITAS during the secondary peak between 2019 December and 2020 February, when the orbital phase ( ϕ ) is between 0.55 and 0.75. NuSTAR detected X-ray spectral evolution, while VERITAS detected TeV emission. We fit a leptonic wind-collision model to the multiwavelength spectra data obtained over the four NuSTAR and VERITAS observations, constraining the pulsar spin-down luminosity and the magnetization parameter at the shock. Despite long-term monitoring of the source from 2019 October to 2020 March, the MDM observatory did not detect significant variation in H α and H β line equivalent widths, an expected signature of Be-disk interaction with the pulsar. Furthermore, fitting folded Swift-XRT light-curve data with an intrabinary shock model constrained the orbital parameters, suggesting two orbital phases (at ϕ D = 0.13 and 0.37), where the pulsar crosses the Be-disk, as well as phases for the periastron ( ϕ 0 = 0.30) and inferior conjunction ( ϕ IFC = 0.75). The broadband X-ray spectra with Swift-XRT and NuSTAR allowed us to measure a higher neutral hydrogen column density at one of the predicted disk-passing phases. 
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  9. 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 J0632 + 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. 
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