Posts Tagged confidence level

Recent Postings from confidence level

Robustness of $H_0$ determination at intermediate redshifts [Cross-Listing]

The most recent Hubble constant $(H_0)$ estimates from local methods ($z<<1$), $H_0=73.8\pm 2.4$ km s$^{-1}$ Mpc$^{-1}$, and the one from high redshits (Planck Collaboration 2013), $H_0=67.3\pm 1.2$ km s$^{-1}$ Mpc$^{-1}$, are discrepant at $2.4 \sigma$ confidence level. Within this context, Lima & Cunha (LC) (ApJL 781, 38, 2014) derived a new determination of $H_0$ using four cosmic probes at intermediate redshifts ($0.1<z<1.8$) based on the so-called flat $\Lambda$CDM model. They obtained $H_0=74.1\pm 2.2$ km s$^{-1}$ Mpc$^{-1}$, in full agreement with local measurements. In this letter, we explore the robustness of the LC result searching for systematic errors and its dependence from the cosmological model used. We find that the $H_0$ value from this joint analysis is very weakly dependent on the underlying cosmological model, but the morphology adopted to infer the distance to galaxy clusters changes the result sizeably, being the main source of systematic errors.

Robustness of $H_0$ determination at intermediate redshifts

The most recent Hubble constant $(H_0)$ estimates from local methods ($z<<1$), $H_0=73.8\pm 2.4$ km s$^{-1}$ Mpc$^{-1}$, and the one from high redshits (Planck Collaboration 2013), $H_0=67.3\pm 1.2$ km s$^{-1}$ Mpc$^{-1}$, are discrepant at $2.4 \sigma$ confidence level. Within this context, Lima & Cunha (LC) (ApJL 781, 38, 2014) derived a new determination of $H_0$ using four cosmic probes at intermediate redshifts ($0.1<z<1.8$) based on the so-called flat $\Lambda$CDM model. They obtained $H_0=74.1\pm 2.2$ km s$^{-1}$ Mpc$^{-1}$, in full agreement with local measurements. In this letter, we explore the robustness of the LC result searching for systematic errors and its dependence from the cosmological model used. We find that the $H_0$ value from this joint analysis is very weakly dependent on the underlying cosmological model, but the morphology adopted to infer the distance to galaxy clusters changes the result sizeably, being the main source of systematic errors.

Reconstruction of the primordial power spectra with Planck and BICEP2 [Replacement]

By using the cubic spline interpolation method, we reconstruct the shape of the primordial scalar and tensor power spectra from the recently released {\it Planck} temperature and BICEP2 polarization cosmic microwave background data. We find that the vanishing scalar index running ($\dd n_s/\dd\ln k$) model is strongly disfavored at more than $3\sigma$ confidence level on the $k=0.0002$ Mpc$^{-1}$ scale. Furthermore, the power-law parameterization gives a blue-tilt tensor spectrum, no matter using only the first 5 bandpowers $n_t = 1.20^{+0.56}_{-0.64} (95% {\rm CL})$ or the full 9 bandpowers $n_t = 1.24^{+0.51}_{-0.58} (95% {\rm CL})$ of BICEP2 data sets. Unlike the large tensor-to-scalar ratio value ($r\sim0.20$) under the scale-invariant tensor spectrum assumption, our interpolation approach gives $r_{0.002} < 0.060 (95% {\rm CL})$ by using the first 5 bandpowers of BICEP2 data. After comparing the results with/without BICEP2 data, we find that {\it Planck} temperature with small tensor amplitude signals and BICEP2 polarization data with large tensor amplitude signals dominate the tensor spectrum reconstruction on the large and small scales, respectively. Hence, the resulting blue tensor tilt actually reflects the tension between {\it Planck} and BICEP2 data.

Reconstruction of the primordial power spectra with Planck and BICEP2

By using the cubic spline interpolation method, we reconstruct the shape of the primordial scalar and tensor power spectra from the recently released {\it Planck} temperature and BICEP2 polarization cosmic microwave background data. We find that the vanishing scalar index running ($\dd n_s/\dd\ln k$) model is strongly disfavored with more than $3\sigma$ confidence level on the $k=0.0002$ Mpc$^{-1}$ scale. Furthermore, the power-law parameterization gives a blue-tilt tensor spectrum, no matter using only the first 5 bandpowers $n_t = 1.20^{+0.56}_{-0.64}~(95\% {\rm CL})$ or the full 9 bandpowers $n_t = 1.24^{+0.51}_{-0.58}~(95\% {\rm CL})$ of BICEP2 data sets. Compared with the large tensor-to-scalar ratio value ($r\sim0.20$) under the scale-invariant tensor spectrum assumption, our interpolation approach gives $r_{0.002} < 0.060~(95\% {\rm CL})$ by using the first 5 bandpowers of BICEP2 data.

Reconstruction of the primordial power spectra with Planck and BICEP2 [Cross-Listing]

By using the cubic spline interpolation method, we reconstruct the shape of the primordial scalar and tensor power spectra from the recently released {\it Planck} temperature and BICEP2 polarization cosmic microwave background data. We find that the vanishing scalar index running ($\dd n_s/\dd\ln k$) model is strongly disfavored with more than $3\sigma$ confidence level on the $k=0.0002$ Mpc$^{-1}$ scale. Furthermore, the power-law parameterization gives a blue-tilt tensor spectrum, no matter using only the first 5 bandpowers $n_t = 1.20^{+0.56}_{-0.64}~(95\% {\rm CL})$ or the full 9 bandpowers $n_t = 1.24^{+0.51}_{-0.58}~(95\% {\rm CL})$ of BICEP2 data sets. Compared with the large tensor-to-scalar ratio value ($r\sim0.20$) under the scale-invariant tensor spectrum assumption, our interpolation approach gives $r_{0.002} < 0.060~(95\% {\rm CL})$ by using the first 5 bandpowers of BICEP2 data.

Reconstruction of the primordial power spectra with Planck and BICEP2 [Replacement]

By using the cubic spline interpolation method, we reconstruct the shape of the primordial scalar and tensor power spectra from the recently released {\it Planck} temperature and BICEP2 polarization cosmic microwave background data. We find that the vanishing scalar index running ($\dd n_s/\dd\ln k$) model is strongly disfavored at more than $3\sigma$ confidence level on the $k=0.0002$ Mpc$^{-1}$ scale. Furthermore, the power-law parameterization gives a blue-tilt tensor spectrum, no matter using only the first 5 bandpowers $n_t = 1.20^{+0.56}_{-0.64} (95% {\rm CL})$ or the full 9 bandpowers $n_t = 1.24^{+0.51}_{-0.58} (95% {\rm CL})$ of BICEP2 data sets. Unlike the large tensor-to-scalar ratio value ($r\sim0.20$) under the scale-invariant tensor spectrum assumption, our interpolation approach gives $r_{0.002} < 0.060 (95% {\rm CL})$ by using the first 5 bandpowers of BICEP2 data. After comparing the results with/without BICEP2 data, we find that {\it Planck} temperature with small tensor amplitude signals and BICEP2 polarization data with large tensor amplitude signals dominate the tensor spectrum reconstruction on the large and small scales, respectively. Hence, the resulting blue tensor tilt actually reflects the tension between {\it Planck} and BICEP2 data.

Constraints on the extensions to the base $\Lambda$CDM model from BICEP2, Planck and WMAP [Cross-Listing]

Recently Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (B2) discovered the relic gravitational waves at $7.0\sigma$ confidence level. However, the other cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, for example Planck data released in 2013 (P13), prefer a much smaller amplitude of the primordial gravitational waves spectrum if a power-law spectrum of adiabatic scalar perturbations is assumed in the six-parameter $\Lambda$CDM cosmology. In this paper, we explore whether the $w$CDM model and the running spectral index can relax the tension between B2 and other CMB data. In particular, we find that a positive running of running of spectral index is preferred at $1.7\sigma$ level from the combination of B2, P13 and WMAP Polarization data.

Constraints on the extensions to the base $\Lambda$CDM model from BICEP2, Planck and WMAP [Cross-Listing]

Recently Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (B2) discovered the relic gravitational waves at $7.0\sigma$ confidence level. However, the other cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, for example Planck data released in 2013 (P13), prefer a much smaller amplitude of the primordial gravitational waves spectrum if a power-law spectrum of adiabatic scalar perturbations is assumed in the six-parameter $\Lambda$CDM cosmology. In this paper, we explore whether the $w$CDM model and the running spectral index can relax the tension between B2 and other CMB data. In particular, we find that a positive running of running of spectral index is preferred at $1.7\sigma$ level from the combination of B2, P13 and WMAP Polarization data.

Constraints on the extensions to the base $\Lambda$CDM model from BICEP2, Planck and WMAP

Recently Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (B2) discovered the relic gravitational waves at $7.0\sigma$ confidence level. However, the other cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, for example Planck data released in 2013 (P13), prefer a much smaller amplitude of the primordial gravitational waves spectrum if a power-law spectrum of adiabatic scalar perturbations is assumed in the six-parameter $\Lambda$CDM cosmology. In this paper, we explore whether the $w$CDM model and the running spectral index can relax the tension between B2 and other CMB data. In particular, we find that a positive running of running of spectral index is preferred at $1.7\sigma$ level from the combination of B2, P13 and WMAP Polarization data.

Constraints on the extensions to the base $\Lambda$CDM model from BICEP2, Planck and WMAP [Cross-Listing]

Recently Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (B2) discovered the relic gravitational waves at $7.0\sigma$ confidence level. However, the other cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, for example Planck data released in 2013 (P13), prefer a much smaller amplitude of the primordial gravitational waves spectrum if a power-law spectrum of adiabatic scalar perturbations is assumed in the six-parameter $\Lambda$CDM cosmology. In this paper, we explore whether the $w$CDM model and the running spectral index can relax the tension between B2 and other CMB data. In particular, we find that a positive running of running of spectral index is preferred at $1.7\sigma$ level from the combination of B2, P13 and WMAP Polarization data.

Taking Halo-Independent Dark Matter Methods Out of the Bin

We develop a new halo-independent strategy for analyzing emerging DM hints, utilizing the method of extended maximum likelihood. This approach does not require the binning of events, making it uniquely suited to the analysis of emerging DM direct detection hints. It determines a preferred envelope, at a given confidence level, for the DM velocity integral which best fits the data using all available information and can be used even in the case of a single anomalous scattering event. All of the halo-independent information from a direct detection result may then be presented in a single plot, allowing simple comparisons between multiple experiments. This results in the halo-independent analogue of the usual mass and cross-section plots found in typical direct detection analyses, where limit curves may be compared with best-fit regions in halo-space. The method is straightforward to implement, using already-established techniques, and its utility is demonstrated through the first unbinned halo-independent comparison of the three anomalous events observed in the CDMS-Si detector with recent limits from the LUX experiment.

Reconstructing the Local Potential of Inflation with BICEP2 data [Replacement]

We locally reconstruct the inflationary potential by using the current constraints on $r$ and $n_{\rm s}$ from BICEP2 data. Assuming small and negligible $\alpha_{\rm s}$, the inflationary potential is approximately linear in $\Delta\phi\sim M_{\rm pl}$ range but becomes non-linear in $\Delta\phi\sim 10 M_{\rm pl}$ range. However if we vary the value of $\alpha_{\rm s}$ within the range given by constraints from {\it Planck} measurement, the local reconstruction is only valid in the range of $\Delta\phi\sim 0.4 M_{\rm pl}$, which challenges the inflationary background from the point of view of effective field theory. We show that, within the range of $\Delta \phi \sim 0.4 M_{\rm pl}$, the inflation potential can be precisely reconstructed. With the current reconstruction, we show that $V(\phi) \sim \phi^{2}$ and $\phi^{3}$ are consistent, while $\phi$ model is ruled out by $95\%$ confidence level of the reconstructed range of potential. This sets up a strong limit of large-field inflation models.

Reconstructing the Local Potential of Inflation with BICEP2 data [Replacement]

We locally reconstruct the inflationary potential by using the current constraints on $r$ and $n_{\rm s}$ from BICEP2 data. Assuming small and negligible $\alpha_{\rm s}$, the inflationary potential is approximately linear in $\Delta\phi\sim M_{\rm pl}$ range but becomes non-linear in $\Delta\phi\sim 10 M_{\rm pl}$ range. However if we vary the value of $\alpha_{\rm s}$ within the range given by constraints from {\it Planck} measurement, the local reconstruction is only valid in the range of $\Delta\phi\sim 0.4 M_{\rm pl}$, which challenges the inflationary background from the point of view of effective field theory. We show that, within the range of $\Delta \phi \sim 0.4 M_{\rm pl}$, the inflation potential can be precisely reconstructed. With the current reconstruction, we show that $V(\phi) \sim \phi^{2}$ and $\phi^{3}$ are consistent, while $\phi$ model is ruled out by $95\%$ confidence level of the reconstructed range of potential. This sets up a strong limit of large-field inflation models.

Investigation of dark matter-dark energy interaction cosmological model

In this paper, we test the dark matter-dark energy interacting cosmological model with a dynamic equation of state $w_{DE}(z)=w_{0}+w_{1}z/(1+z)$, using type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), Hubble parameter data, baryonic acoustic oscillation (BAO) measurements, and the cosmic microwave background (CMB) observation. This interacting cosmological model has not been studied before. The best-fitted parameters with $1 \sigma$ uncertainties are $\delta=-0.022 \pm 0.006$, $\Omega_{DM}^{0}=0.213 \pm 0.008$, $w_0 =-1.210 \pm 0.033$ and $w_1=0.872 \pm 0.072$ with $\chi^2_{min}/dof = 0.990$. At the $1 \sigma$ confidence level, we find $\delta<0$, which means that the energy transfer prefers from dark matter to dark energy. We also find that the SNe Ia are in tension with the combination of CMB, BAO and Hubble parameter data. The evolution of $\rho_{DM}/\rho_{DE}$ indicates that this interacting model is a good approach to solve the coincidence problem, because the $\rho_{DE}$ decrease with scale factor $a$. The transition redshift is $z_{tr}=0.63 \pm 0.07$ in this model.

First measurement of $\sigma_8$ using supernova data only

A method was recently proposed which allows the conversion of the weak-lensing effects in the supernova Hubble diagram from noise into signal. Such signal is sensitive to the growth of structure in the universe, and in particular can be used as a measurement of $\sigma_8$ which is independent from more traditional methods such as those based on the CMB, cosmic shear or cluster abundance. We extend here that analysis to allow for intrinsic non-Gaussianities in the supernova PDF, and discuss how this can be best modelled using the Bayes Factor. Although it was shown that a precise measurement of $\sigma_8$ requires ~$10^5$ supernovae, current data already allows an important proof of principle. In particular we make use of the 732 supernovae with z < 1 of the recent JLA catalog and show that a simple treatment of intrinsic non-Gaussianities with a couple of nuisance parameters is enough for our method to yield the values $\sigma_8 = 0.84^{+0.28}_{-0.65}$ or $\sigma_8 < 1.45$ at a $2\sigma$ confidence level. This result is consistent with mock simulations and it is also in agreement with independent measurements and presents the first ever measurement of $\sigma_8$ using supernova data alone.

First measurement of $\sigma_8$ using supernova magnitudes only [Replacement]

A method was recently proposed which allows the conversion of the weak-lensing effects in the supernova Hubble diagram from noise into signal. Such signal is sensitive to the growth of structure in the universe, and in particular can be used as a measurement of $\sigma_8$ which is independent from more traditional methods such as those based on the CMB, cosmic shear or cluster abundance. We extend here that analysis to allow for intrinsic non-Gaussianities in the supernova PDF, and discuss how this can be best modelled using the Bayes Factor. Although it was shown that a precise measurement of $\sigma_8$ requires ~$10^5$ supernovae, current data already allows an important proof of principle. In particular we make use of the 732 supernovae with z < 1 of the recent JLA catalog and show that a simple treatment of intrinsic non-Gaussianities with a couple of nuisance parameters is enough for our method to yield the values $\sigma_8 = 0.84^{+0.28}_{-0.65}$ or $\sigma_8 < 1.45$ at a $2\sigma$ confidence level. This result is consistent with mock simulations and it is also in agreement with independent measurements and presents the first ever measurement of $\sigma_8$ using supernova magnitudes alone.

Reconciling the cosmic age problem in the R_h=ct Universe

Many dark energy models fail to pass the cosmic age test. In this paper, we investigate the cosmic age problem associated with 20 extremely red and massive galaxies at very high redshift from Castro-Rodr{\’i}guez and Lopez-Corredoira (2012) in the $R_h=ct$ Universe. These old galaxies and the $R_h=ct$ Universe have not been used to study the cosmic age problem in previous literature. By evaluating the age of the $R_h=ct$ Universe with the observational constraints from the Type Ia supernovae, and Hubble parameter, we find that the $R_h=ct$ Universe can accommodate the 20 old galaxies and quasar APM 08279+5255 at redshift $z=3.91$ at more than $3\sigma$ confidence level. So, unlike other cosmological models, the $R_h=ct$ Universe does not suffer the cosmic age problem.

Molecular hydrogen absorption systems in SDSS

We present a systematic search for molecular hydrogen absorption systems at high redshift in quasar spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) II Data Release 7 and SDSS-III Data Release 9. We have selected candidates using a modified profile fitting technique taking into account that the Ly$\alpha$ forest can effectively mimic H$_2$ absorption systems at the resolution of SDSS data. To estimate the confidence level of the detections, we use two methods: a Monte-Carlo sampling and an analysis of control samples. The analysis of control samples allows us to define regions of the spectral quality parameter space where H$_2$ absorption systems can be confidently identified. We find that H$_2$ absorption systems with column densities $\log {\rm N_{H_2}} > 19$ can be detected in only less than 3% of SDSS quasar spectra. We estimate the upper limit on the detection rate of saturated H$_2$ absorption systems ($\log {\rm N_{H_2}} > 19$) in Damped Ly-$\alpha$ (DLA) systems to be about 7%. We provide a sample of 23 confident H$_2$ absorption system candidates that would be interesting to follow up with high resolution spectrographs. There is a 1$\sigma$ $r-i$ color excess and non-significant $A_{\rm V}$ extinction excess in quasar spectra with an H$_2$ candidate compared to standard DLA-bearing quasar spectra. The equivalent widths (EWs) of C II, Si II and Al III (but not Fe II) absorptions associated with H$_2$ candidate DLAs are larger compared to standard DLAs. This is probably related to a larger spread in velocity of the absorption lines in the H$_2$ bearing sample.

Molecular hydrogen absorption systems in Sloan Digital Sky Survey [Replacement]

We present a systematic search for molecular hydrogen absorption systems at high redshift in quasar spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) II Data Release 7 and SDSS-III Data Release 9. We have selected candidates using a modified profile fitting technique taking into account that the Ly$\alpha$ forest can effectively mimic H$_2$ absorption systems at the resolution of SDSS data. To estimate the confidence level of the detections, we use two methods: a Monte-Carlo sampling and an analysis of control samples. The analysis of control samples allows us to define regions of the spectral quality parameter space where H$_2$ absorption systems can be confidently identified. We find that H$_2$ absorption systems with column densities $\log {\rm N_{H_2}} > 19$ can be detected in only less than 3% of SDSS quasar spectra. We estimate the upper limit on the detection rate of saturated H$_2$ absorption systems ($\log {\rm N_{H_2}} > 19$) in Damped Ly-$\alpha$ (DLA) systems to be about 7%. We provide a sample of 23 confident H$_2$ absorption system candidates that would be interesting to follow up with high resolution spectrographs. There is a 1$\sigma$ $r-i$ color excess and non-significant $A_{\rm V}$ extinction excess in quasar spectra with an H$_2$ candidate compared to standard DLA-bearing quasar spectra. The equivalent widths (EWs) of C II, Si II and Al III (but not Fe II) absorptions associated with H$_2$ candidate DLAs are larger compared to standard DLAs. This is probably related to a larger spread in velocity of the absorption lines in the H$_2$ bearing sample.

Probing Quintessence Potential with Future Cosmological Surveys [Replacement]

Quintessence, a scalar field model, has been proposed to account for the acceleration of the Universe at present. We discuss how accurately quintessence models are discriminated by future cosmological surveys, which include experiments of CMB, galaxy clustering, weak lensing, and the type Ia SNe surveys, by making use of the conventional parameterized dark energy models. We can see clear differences between the thawing and the freezing quintessence models at more than $1\sigma$ ($2\sigma$) confidence level as long as the present equation of state for quintessence is away from $-1$ as $w_X \gtrsim -0.95 (-0.90)$. However, it is found to be difficult to probe the effective mass squared for the potential in thawing models, whose signs are different between the quadratic and the cosine-type potentials. This fact may require us to invent a new estimator to distinguish quintessence models beyond the thawing and the freezing ones.

Probing Quintessence Potential with Future Cosmological Surveys

Quintessence, a scalar field model, has been proposed to account for the acceleration of the Universe at present. We discuss how accurately quintessence models are discriminated by future cosmological surveys, which include experiments of CMB, galaxy clustering, weak lensing, and the type Ia SNe surveys, by making use of the conventional parameterized dark energy models. We can see clear differences between the thawing and the freezing quintessence models at more than $1\sigma$ ($2\sigma$) confidence level as long as the present equation of state for quintessence is away from $-1$ as $w_X \gtrsim -0.95 (-0.90)$. However, it is found to be difficult to probe the effective mass squared for the potential in thawing models, whose signs are different between the quadratic and the cosine-type potentials. This fact may require us to invent a new estimator to distinguish quintessence models beyond the thawing and the freezing ones.

Probing Quintessence Potential with Future Cosmological Surveys [Replacement]

Quintessence, a scalar field model, has been proposed to account for the acceleration of the Universe at present. We discuss how accurately quintessence models are discriminated by future cosmological surveys, which include experiments of CMB, galaxy clustering, weak lensing, and the type Ia SNe surveys, by making use of the conventional parameterized dark energy models. We can see clear differences between the thawing and the freezing quintessence models at more than $1\sigma$ ($2\sigma$) confidence level as long as the present equation of state for quintessence is away from $-1$ as $w_X \gtrsim -0.95 (-0.90)$. However, it is found to be difficult to probe the effective mass squared for the potential in thawing models, whose signs are different between the quadratic and the cosine-type potentials. This fact may require us to invent a new estimator to distinguish quintessence models beyond the thawing and the freezing ones.

Probing Quintessence Potential with Future Cosmological Surveys [Cross-Listing]

Quintessence, a scalar field model, has been proposed to account for the acceleration of the Universe at present. We discuss how accurately quintessence models are discriminated by future cosmological surveys, which include experiments of CMB, galaxy clustering, weak lensing, and the type Ia SNe surveys, by making use of the conventional parameterized dark energy models. We can see clear differences between the thawing and the freezing quintessence models at more than $1\sigma$ ($2\sigma$) confidence level as long as the present equation of state for quintessence is away from $-1$ as $w_X \gtrsim -0.95 (-0.90)$. However, it is found to be difficult to probe the effective mass squared for the potential in thawing models, whose signs are different between the quadratic and the cosine-type potentials. This fact may require us to invent a new estimator to distinguish quintessence models beyond the thawing and the freezing ones.

Probing Quintessence Potential with Future Cosmological Surveys [Replacement]

Quintessence, a scalar field model, has been proposed to account for the acceleration of the Universe at present. We discuss how accurately quintessence models are discriminated by future cosmological surveys, which include experiments of CMB, galaxy clustering, weak lensing, and the type Ia SNe surveys, by making use of the conventional parameterized dark energy models. We can see clear differences between the thawing and the freezing quintessence models at more than $1\sigma$ ($2\sigma$) confidence level as long as the present equation of state for quintessence is away from $-1$ as $w_X \gtrsim -0.95 (-0.90)$. However, it is found to be difficult to probe the effective mass squared for the potential in thawing models, whose signs are different between the quadratic and the cosine-type potentials. This fact may require us to invent a new estimator to distinguish quintessence models beyond the thawing and the freezing ones.

Probing Quintessence Potential with Future Cosmological Surveys [Cross-Listing]

Quintessence, a scalar field model, has been proposed to account for the acceleration of the Universe at present. We discuss how accurately quintessence models are discriminated by future cosmological surveys, which include experiments of CMB, galaxy clustering, weak lensing, and the type Ia SNe surveys, by making use of the conventional parameterized dark energy models. We can see clear differences between the thawing and the freezing quintessence models at more than $1\sigma$ ($2\sigma$) confidence level as long as the present equation of state for quintessence is away from $-1$ as $w_X \gtrsim -0.95 (-0.90)$. However, it is found to be difficult to probe the effective mass squared for the potential in thawing models, whose signs are different between the quadratic and the cosine-type potentials. This fact may require us to invent a new estimator to distinguish quintessence models beyond the thawing and the freezing ones.

Cosmological parameter estimation from CMB and X-ray clusters after Planck

We update the cosmological parameter estimation for three non-vanilla models by a joint analysis of \CCCP\ X-ray cluster, the newly released \Planck\ CMB data as well as some external data sets, such as baryon acoustic oscillation measurements from the 6dFGS, SDSS DR7 and BOSS DR9 surveys, and Hubble Space Telescope $H_0$ measurement. First of all, we find that X-ray cluster data sets strongly favor a non-zero summed neutrino mass at more than 3$\sigma$ confidence level in these non-vanilla models. And then, we reveal some tensions between X-ray cluster and {\it Planck} data in some cosmological parameters. For the matter power spectrum amplitude $\sigma_8$, X-ray cluster data favor a lower value compared with {\it Planck}. Because of the strong $\sigma_8-\sum m_{\nu}$ degeneracy, this tension could beyond 2$\sigma$ confidence level when the summed neutrino mass $\sum m_{\nu}$ is allowed to vary. For the CMB lensing amplitude $A_L$, the addition of X-ray cluster data results in a 3$\sigma$ deviation from the vanilla model. Furthermore, {\it Planck}+X-ray data prefer a large Hubble constant and phantom-like dark energy equation of state, which are in $2\sigma$ tension with those from WMAP7+X-ray data. Finally, we find that these tensions/descrepencies could be relaxed in some sense by adding a $9\%$ systematic shift in the cluster mass functions.

Cosmological parameter estimation from CMB and X-ray clusters after Planck [Replacement]

We update the cosmological parameter estimation for three non-vanilla models by a joint analysis of \CCCP\ X-ray cluster, the newly released \Planck\ CMB data as well as some external data sets, such as baryon acoustic oscillation measurements from the 6dFGS, SDSS DR7 and BOSS DR9 surveys, and Hubble Space Telescope $H_0$ measurement. First of all, we find that X-ray cluster data sets strongly favor a non-zero summed neutrino mass at more than 3$\sigma$ confidence level in these non-vanilla models. And then, we reveal some tensions between X-ray cluster and {\it Planck} data in some cosmological parameters. For the matter power spectrum amplitude $\sigma_8$, X-ray cluster data favor a lower value compared with {\it Planck}. Because of the strong $\sigma_8-\sum m_{\nu}$ degeneracy, this tension could beyond 2$\sigma$ confidence level when the summed neutrino mass $\sum m_{\nu}$ is allowed to vary. For the CMB lensing amplitude $A_L$, the addition of X-ray cluster data results in a 3$\sigma$ deviation from the vanilla model. Furthermore, {\it Planck}+X-ray data prefer a large Hubble constant and phantom-like dark energy equation of state, which are in $2\sigma$ tension with those from WMAP7+X-ray data. Finally, we find that these tensions/descrepencies could be relaxed in some sense by adding a $9\%$ systematic shift in the cluster mass functions.

Estimating the uncorrelated dark energy evolution in the Planck era

The equation of state (EOS), $w(z)$, is the most important parameter of dark energy. We reconstruct the evolution of this EOS in a model-independent way using the latest cosmic microwave background (CMB) data from Planck and other observations, such as type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), the baryonic acoustic oscillation measurements (SDSS, 6dF, BOSS, and WiggleZ), and the Hubble parameter value $H(z)$. The results show that the EOS is consistent with the cosmological constant at the $2\sigma$ confidence level, not preferring a dynamical dark energy. The uncorrelated EOS of dark energy constraints from Planck CMB data are much tighter than those from the WMAP 9-year CMB data.

Search for a Stochastic Gravitational-wave Background using a pair of Torsion-bar Antennas

We have set a new upper limit on the stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB) using two prototype Torsion-bar Antennas (TOBAs). TOBA is a low-frequency gravitational-wave detector with bar-shaped test masses rotated by the tidal force of gravitational waves. As a result of simultaneous 7-hour observations with TOBAs in Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, our upper limit with a confidence level of 95% is $\Omega_{\rm gw}h_0^2 < 1.9 \times 10^{17}$ at 0.035 – 0.830 Hz, where $h_{0}$ is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/s/Mpc and $\Omega_{\rm gw}$ is the gravitational wave energy density per logarithmic frequency interval in units of the closure density. We successfully updated the upper limit and extended the explored frequency band.

Search for a Stochastic Gravitational-wave Background using a pair of Torsion-bar Antennas [Cross-Listing]

We have set a new upper limit on the stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB) using two prototype Torsion-bar Antennas (TOBAs). TOBA is a low-frequency gravitational-wave detector with bar-shaped test masses rotated by the tidal force of gravitational waves. As a result of simultaneous 7-hour observations with TOBAs in Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, our upper limit with a confidence level of 95% is $\Omega_{\rm gw}h_0^2 < 1.9 \times 10^{17}$ at 0.035 – 0.830 Hz, where $h_{0}$ is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/s/Mpc and $\Omega_{\rm gw}$ is the gravitational wave energy density per logarithmic frequency interval in units of the closure density. We successfully updated the upper limit and extended the explored frequency band.

Search for a Stochastic Gravitational-wave Background using a pair of Torsion-bar Antennas [Replacement]

We have set a new upper limit on the stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB) using two prototype Torsion-bar Antennas (TOBAs). TOBA is a low-frequency gravitational-wave detector with bar-shaped test masses rotated by the tidal force of gravitational waves. As a result of simultaneous 7-hour observations with TOBAs in Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, our upper limit with a confidence level of 95% is $\Omega_{\rm gw}h_0^2 < 1.9 \times 10^{17}$ at 0.035 – 0.830 Hz, where $h_{0}$ is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/s/Mpc and $\Omega_{\rm gw}$ is the gravitational wave energy density per logarithmic frequency interval in units of the closure density. We successfully updated the upper limit and extended the explored frequency band.

Search for a Stochastic Gravitational-wave Background using a pair of Torsion-bar Antennas [Replacement]

We have set a new upper limit on the stochastic gravitational wave background (SGWB) using two prototype Torsion-bar Antennas (TOBAs). TOBA is a low-frequency gravitational-wave detector with bar-shaped test masses rotated by the tidal force of gravitational waves. As a result of simultaneous 7-hour observations with TOBAs in Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, our upper limit with a confidence level of 95% is $\Omega_{\rm gw}h_0^2 < 1.9 \times 10^{17}$ at 0.035 – 0.830 Hz, where $h_{0}$ is the Hubble constant in units of 100 km/s/Mpc and $\Omega_{\rm gw}$ is the gravitational wave energy density per logarithmic frequency interval in units of the closure density. We successfully updated the upper limit and extended the explored frequency band.

Analysis of High Cadence In-Situ Solar Wind Ionic Composition Data Using Wavelet Power Spectra Confidence Levels

The variability inherent in solar wind composition has implications for the variability of the physical conditions in its coronal source regions, providing constraints on models of coronal heating and solar wind generation. We present a generalized prescription for constructing a wavelet power significance measure (confidence level) for the purpose of characterizing the effects of missing data in high cadence solar wind ionic composition measurements. We describe the data gaps present in the 12-minute ACE/SWICS observations of O7+/O6+ during 2008. The decomposition of the in-situ observations into a `good measurement’ and a `no measurement’ signal allows us to evaluate the performance of a filler signal, i.e., various prescriptions for filling the data gaps. We construct Monte Carlo simulations of synthetic O7+/O6+ composition data and impose the actual data gaps that exist in the observations in order to investigate two different filler signals: one, a linear interpolation between neighboring good data points, and two, the constant mean value of the measured data. Applied to these synthetic data plus filler signal combinations, we quantify the ability of the power spectra significance level procedure to reproduce the ensemble-averaged time-integrated wavelet power per scale of an ideal case, i.e. the synthetic data without imposed data gaps. Finally, we present the wavelet power spectra for the O7+/O6+ data using the confidence levels derived from both the Mean Value and Linear Interpolation data gap filling signals and discuss the results.

A search for long-lived gravitational-wave transients coincident with long gamma-ray bursts

Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massive stars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10-1000s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO’s fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F<3.5 ergs cm^-2 to $F<1200 ergs cm^-2, depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ~33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.

A search for long-lived gravitational-wave transients coincident with long gamma-ray bursts [Cross-Listing]

Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massive stars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10-1000s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO’s fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F<3.5 ergs cm^-2 to $F<1200 ergs cm^-2, depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ~33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.

A search for long-lived gravitational-wave transients coincident with long gamma-ray bursts [Replacement]

Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massive stars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10-1000s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO’s fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F<3.5 ergs cm^-2 to $F<1200 ergs cm^-2, depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ~33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.

A search for long-lived gravitational-wave transients coincident with long gamma-ray bursts [Replacement]

Long gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been linked to extreme core-collapse supernovae from massive stars. Gravitational waves (GW) offer a probe of the physics behind long GRBs. We investigate models of long-lived (~10-1000s) GW emission associated with the accretion disk of a collapsed star or with its protoneutron star remnant. Using data from LIGO’s fifth science run, and GRB triggers from the swift experiment, we perform a search for unmodeled long-lived GW transients. Finding no evidence of GW emission, we place 90% confidence level upper limits on the GW fluence at Earth from long GRBs for three waveforms inspired by a model of GWs from accretion disk instabilities. These limits range from F<3.5 ergs cm^-2 to $F<1200 ergs cm^-2, depending on the GRB and on the model, allowing us to probe optimistic scenarios of GW production out to distances as far as ~33 Mpc. Advanced detectors are expected to achieve strain sensitivities 10x better than initial LIGO, potentially allowing us to probe the engines of the nearest long GRBs.

Weighing "El Gordo" with a Pecision Scale: Hubble Space Telescope Weak-lensing Analysis of the Merging Galaxy Cluster ACT-CL J0102-4915 at z=0.87

(Abridged) We present a HST weak-lensing study of the merging galaxy cluster "El Gordo" (ACT-CL J0102-4915) at z=0.87 discovered by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope collaboration as the strongest SZ decrement in its ~1000 sq. deg survey. Our weak-lensing analysis confirms that ACT-CL J0102-4915 is indeed an extreme system consisting of two massive (~10^15 Msun each) subclusters with a projected separation of ~0.7 Mpc. This binary mass structure revealed by our lensing study is consistent with the cluster galaxy distribution and the dynamical study carried out with 89 spectroscopic members. We estimate the mass of ACT-CL J0102-4915 by simultaneously fitting two axisymmetric NFW profiles allowing their centers to vary. Our MCMC analysis shows that the masses of the northwestern (NW) and the southeastern (SE) components are M200c=(1.40+-0.31) x 10^15 Msun and (0.75+-0.17) x 10^15 Msun, respectively. The lensing-based velocity dispersions are consistent with their spectroscopic measurements. The centroids of both components are tightly constrained (~4") and close to the optical luminosity centers. The X-ray and mass peaks are spatially offset by ~13" (~100 kpc), which is significant at the ~3 sigma confidence level and confirms that the baryonic and dark matter in this cluster are disassociated. The dark matter peak, however, does not lead the gas peak in the direction expected if we are viewing the cluster soon after first core passage during a high speed merger. Under the assumption that the merger is happening in the plane of the sky, extrapolation of the two NFW halos to a radius r200a=2.4 Mpc yields a combined mass of M200a=(3.10+-0.70) x 10^15 Msun. This extrapolated total mass is consistent with our two-component-based dynamical analysis and previous X-ray measurements, projecting ACT-CL J0102-4915 to be the most massive cluster at z>0.6 known to date.

Weighing "El Gordo" with a Precision Scale: Hubble Space Telescope Weak-lensing Analysis of the Merging Galaxy Cluster ACT-CL J0102-4915 at z=0.87 [Replacement]

(Abridged) We present a HST weak-lensing study of the merging galaxy cluster "El Gordo" (ACT-CL J0102-4915) at z=0.87 discovered by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope collaboration as the strongest SZ decrement in its ~1000 sq. deg survey. Our weak-lensing analysis confirms that ACT-CL J0102-4915 is indeed an extreme system consisting of two massive (~10^15 Msun each) subclusters with a projected separation of ~0.7 Mpc. This binary mass structure revealed by our lensing study is consistent with the cluster galaxy distribution and the dynamical study carried out with 89 spectroscopic members. We estimate the mass of ACT-CL J0102-4915 by simultaneously fitting two axisymmetric NFW profiles allowing their centers to vary. Our MCMC analysis shows that the masses of the northwestern (NW) and the southeastern (SE) components are M200c=(1.40+-0.31) x 10^15 Msun and (0.75+-0.17) x 10^15 Msun, respectively. The lensing-based velocity dispersions are consistent with their spectroscopic measurements. The centroids of both components are tightly constrained (~4") and close to the optical luminosity centers. The X-ray and mass peaks are spatially offset by ~13" (~100 kpc), which is significant at the ~3 sigma confidence level and confirms that the baryonic and dark matter in this cluster are disassociated. The dark matter peak, however, does not lead the gas peak in the direction expected if we are viewing the cluster soon after first core passage during a high speed merger. Under the assumption that the merger is happening in the plane of the sky, extrapolation of the two NFW halos to a radius r200a=2.4 Mpc yields a combined mass of M200a=(3.10+-0.70) x 10^15 Msun. This extrapolated total mass is consistent with our two-component-based dynamical analysis and previous X-ray measurements, projecting ACT-CL J0102-4915 to be the most massive cluster at z>0.6 known to date.

Observational constraints on G-corrected holographic dark energy using a Markov chain Monte Carlo method

We constrain holographic dark energy (HDE) with time varying gravitational coupling constant in the framework of the modified Friedmann equations using cosmological data from type Ia supernovae, baryon acoustic oscillations, cosmic microwave background radiation and X-ray gas mass fraction. Applying a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation, we obtain the best fit values of the model and cosmological parameters within $1\sigma$ confidence level (CL) in a flat universe as: $\Omega_{\rm b}h^2=0.0222^{+0.0018}_{-0.0013}$, $\Omega_{\rm c}h^2 =0.1121^{+0.0110}_{-0.0079}$, $\alpha_{\rm G}\equiv \dot{G}/(HG) =0.1647^{+0.3547}_{-0.2971}$ and the HDE constant $c=0.9322^{+0.4569}_{-0.5447}$. Using the best fit values, the equation of state of the dark component at the present time $w_{\rm d0}$ at $1\sigma$ CL can cross the phantom boundary $w=-1$.

Chromospherically Active Stars in the RAVE Survey. I. The Catalogue

RAVE, the unbiased magnitude limited survey of the southern sky stars, contained 456,676 medium-resolution spectra at the time of our analysis. Spectra cover the CaII IRT range which is a known indicator of chromospheric activity. Our previous work (Matijevi\v{c} et al. 2012) classified all spectra using locally linear embedding. It identified 53,347 cases with a suggested emission component in calcium lines. Here we use a spectral subtraction technique to measure the properties of this emission. Synthetic templates are replaced by the observed spectra of non-active stars to bypass the difficult computations of non-LTE profiles of the line cores and stellar parameter dependence. We derive both the equivalent width of the excess emission for each calcium line on a 5\AA\ wide interval and their sum EW_IRT for ~44,000 candidate active dwarf stars with S/N>20 and with no respect to the source of their emission flux. From these ~14,000 show a detectable chromospheric flux with at least 2\sigma\ confidence level. Our set of active stars vastly enlarges previously known samples. Atmospheric parameters and in some cases radial velocities of active stars derived from automatic pipeline suffer from systematic shifts due to their shallower calcium lines. We re-estimate the effective temperature, metallicity and radial velocities for candidate active stars. The overall distribution of activity levels shows a bimodal shape, with the first peak coinciding with non-active stars and the second with the pre main-sequence cases. The catalogue will be publicly available with the next RAVE public data releases.

The Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign: The Frequency of Planets around Young Moving Group Stars

We report results of a direct imaging survey for giant planets around 80 members of the Beta Pic, TW Hya, Tucana-Horologium, AB Dor, and Hercules-Lyra moving groups, observed as part of the Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign. For this sample, we obtained median contrasts of \Delta H=13.9 mag at 1" in combined CH4 narrowband ADI+SDI mode and median contrasts of \Delta H=15.1 mag at 2" in H-band ADI mode. We found numerous (>70) candidate companions in our survey images. Some of these candidates were rejected as common-proper motion companions using archival data; we reobserved with NICI all other candidates that lay within 400 AU of the star and were not in dense stellar fields. The vast majority of candidate companions were confirmed as background objects from archival observations and/or dedicated NICI campaign followup. Four co-moving companions of brown dwarf or stellar mass were discovered in this moving group sample: PZ Tel B (36+-6 MJup, 16.4+-1.0 AU, Biller et al. 2010), CD -35 2722B (31+-8 MJup, 67+-4 AU, Wahhaj et al. 2011), HD 12894B (0.46+-0.08 MSun, 15.7+-1.0 AU), and BD+07 1919C (0.20+-0.03 MSun, 12.5+-1.4 AU). From a Bayesian analysis of the achieved H band ADI and ASDI contrasts, using power-law models of planet distributions and hot-start evolutionary models, we restrict the frequency of 1–20 MJup companions at semi-major axes from 10–150 AU to <18% at a 95.4% confidence level using DUSTY models and to <6% at a 95.4% using COND models.

Testing Dvali-Gabadadze-Porrati Gravity with Planck

Recently, the Planck collaboration has released the first cosmological papers providing the highest resolution, full sky, maps of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) temperature anisotropies. In this paper we study a phenomenological model which interpolates between the pure $\Lambda$CDM model and the Dvali-Gabadadze-Porrati (DGP) braneworld model with an additional parameter $\alpha$. Firstly, we calculate the "distance information" of Planck data which includes the "shift parameter" $R$, the "acoustic scale" $l_A$, and the photon decoupling epoch $z_\ast$ in different cosmological models and find that this information is almost independent on the input models we use. Then, we compare the constraints on the free parameter $\alpha$ of the DGP model from the "distance information" of Planck and WMAP data and find that the Planck data with high precision do not improve the constraint on $\alpha$, but give the higher median value and the better limit on the current matter density fraction $\Omega_m$. Then, combining the "distance information" of Planck measurement, baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO), type Ia supernovae (SNIa) and the prior on the current Hubble constant (HST), we obtain the tight constraint on the parameter $\alpha < 0.20$ at $95\%$ confidence level, which implies that the flat DGP model has been ruled out by the current cosmological data. Finally, we allow the additional parameter $\alpha < 0$ in our calculations and interestingly obtain $\alpha=-0.29\pm0.20$ ($68\%$ C.L.), which means the current data slightly favor the effective equation of state $w_{\rm eff}<-1$. More importantly, the tension between constraints on $H_0$ from different observational data has been eased.

The primordial helium abundance from updated emissivities

Observations of metal-poor extragalactic H II regions allow the determination of the primordial helium abundance, Y_p. The He I emissivities are the foundation of the model of the H II region’s emission. Porter, Ferland, Storey, & Detisch (2012) have recently published updated He I emissivities based on improved photoionization cross-sections. We incorporate these new atomic data and update our recent Markov Chain Monte Carlo analysis of the dataset published by Izotov, Thuan, & Stasinska (2007). As before, cuts are made to promote quality and reliability, and only solutions which fit the data within 95% confidence level are used to determine the primordial He abundance. The previously qualifying dataset is almost entirely retained and with strong concordance between the physical parameters. Overall, an upward bias from the new emissivities leads to a decrease in Y_p. In addition, we find a general trend to larger uncertainties in individual objects (due to changes in the emissivities) and an increased variance (due to additional objects included). From a regression to zero metallicity, we determine Y_p = 0.2465 +/- 0.0097, in good agreement with the Planck result of Y_p = 0.2485 +/- 0.0002. In the future, a better understanding of why a large fraction of spectra are not well fit by the model will be crucial to achieving an increase in the precision of the primordial helium abundance determination.

What do observations of the Lyman-alpha fraction tell us about reionization?

An appealing approach for studying the reionization history of the universe is to measure the redshift evolution of the Lyman-alpha fraction, the percentage of Lyman-break selected galaxies that emit appreciably in the Ly-alpha line. This fraction is expected to fall-off towards high redshift as the intergalactic medium becomes significantly neutral, and the galaxies’ Ly-alpha emission is progressively attenuated. Intriguingly, early measurements with this technique suggest a strong drop in the Ly-alpha fraction near z ~ 7. Previous work concluded that this requires a surprisingly neutral intergalactic medium — with neutral hydrogen filling more than 50 % of the volume of the universe — at this redshift. We model the evolving Ly-alpha fraction using cosmological simulations of the reionization process. Before reionization completes, the simulated Ly-alpha fraction has large spatial fluctuations owing to the inhomogeneity of reionization. Since existing measurements of the Ly-alpha fraction span relatively small regions on the sky, and sample these regions only sparsely, they may by chance probe mostly galaxies with above average Ly-alpha attenuation. We find that this sample variance is not exceedingly large for existing surveys, but that it does somewhat mitigate the required neutral fraction at z ~ 7. Quantitatively, in a fiducial model calibrated to match measurements after reionization, we find that current z = 7 observations require a volume-averaged neutral fraction of x_HI > 0.05 at 95 % confidence level. Hence, we find that the z ~ 7 Ly-alpha fraction measurements do likely probe the universe before reionization completes but that they do not require a very large neutral fraction.

Probing the cosmic-ray content of galaxy clusters by stacking Fermi-LAT count maps

Observation in radio have shown that galaxy clusters are giant reservoirs of cosmic rays (CR). Although a gamma-ray signal from the cluster volume is expected to arise through interactions of CR protons with the ambient plasma, a confirming observation is still missing. We search for a cumulative gamma-ray emission in direction of galaxy clusters by analysing a collection of stacked Fermi-LAT count maps. Additionally, we investigate possible systematic differences in the emission between cool-core and non-cool core cluster populations. Making use of a sample of 53 clusters selected from the HIFLUGCS catalog, we do not detect a significant signal from the stacked sample. The flux upper limit derived for the total stacked sample is at the level of a few 1e-11 ph cm-2 s-1 at 95% confidence level in the 1-300 GeV band, assuming power-law spectra with photon indices 2.0, 2.4, 2.8 and 3.2. Separate stacking of the cool core and non-cool core clusters in the sample lead to similar values of around 5e-11 ph cm-2 s-1 and 2e-11 ph cm-2 s-1, respectively. Under the assumption that decaying \pi^0, produced in collisions between CRs and the ambient thermal gas, are responsible for the gamma-ray emission, we set upper limits on the average CR content in galaxy clusters. For the entire cluster population, our upper limit on the gamma-ray flux translates into an upper limit on the CR-to-thermal energy ratio of 4.6% for a photon index of 2.4. Our 95% upper limits are at the level expected from numerical simulations, which likely suggests that the injection of CR at cosmological shocks is less efficient than previously assumed.

A lingering non-thermal component in the GRB prompt emission: predicting GeV emission from the MeV spectrum

The high energy GeV emission of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), detected by \emph{Fermi}/LAT, has a significantly different morphology compared to the lower energy MeV emission, detected by \emph{Fermi}/GBM. Though the late time GeV emission is believed to be synchrotron radiation produced via an external shock, this emission as early as the prompt phase is puzzling. Meaningful connection between these two emissions can be drawn only by an accurate description of the prompt MeV spectrum. We perform a time-resolved spectroscopy of the GBM data of long GRBs having significant GeV emission, using a model consisting of 2 blackbodies and a power-law. We examine in detail the evolution of the spectral components and found that GRBs having high GeV emission (GRB 090902B and GRB 090926A) have a delayed onset of the power-law component, in the GBM spectrum, which lingers at the later part of the prompt emission. This behaviour mimics the flux evolution in LAT. In contrast, bright GBM GRBs with an order of magnitude lower GeV emission (GRB 100724B and GRB 091003) show a coupled variability of the total and the power-law flux. Further, by analyzing the data for a set of 17 GRBs, we find a strong correlation between the power-law fluence in the MeV and the LAT fluence (Pearson correlation: r=0.88 and Spearman correlation: $\rho=0.81$). We demonstrate that this correlation is not influenced by the correlation between the total and the power-law fluences at a confidence level of 2.3$\sigma$. We speculate the possible radiation mechanisms responsible for the correlation.

Constraining dark matter late-time energy injection: decays and p-wave annihilations

We use the latest cosmic microwave background (CMB) observations to provide updated constraints on the dark matter lifetime as well as on p-wave suppressed annihilation cross sections in the 1 MeV to 1 TeV mass range. In contrast to scenarios with an s-wave dominated annihilation cross section, which mainly affect the CMB close to the last scattering surface, signatures associated with these scenarios essentially appear at low redshifts (z < 50) when structure began to form, and thus manifest at lower multipoles in the CMB power spectrum. We use data from Planck, WMAP9, SPT and ACT, as well as Lyman-alpha measurements of the matter temperature at z ~ 4 to set a 95% confidence level lower bound on the dark matter lifetime of ~ 4 x 10^25 s for m_chi = 100 MeV. This bound becomes lower by two orders of magnitude at m_chi = 1 TeV due to inefficient energy deposition into the intergalactic medium. We also show that structure formation can enhance the effect of p-wave suppressed annihilation cross sections by many orders of magnitude with respect to the background cosmological rate, although even with this enhancement, CMB constraints are not yet strong enough to reach the thermal relic value of the cross section.

Primordial 4He abundance: a determination based on the largest sample of HII regions with a methodology tested on model HII regions

We verified the validity of the empirical method to derive the 4He abundance used in our previous papers by applying it to CLOUDY (v13.01) models. Using newly published HeI emissivities, for which we present convenient fits as well as the output CLOUDY case B hydrogen and HeI line intensities, we found that the empirical method is able to reproduce the input CLOUDY 4He abundance with an accuracy of better than 1%. The CLOUDY output data also allowed us to derive the non-recombination contribution to the intensities of the strongest Balmer hydrogen Halpha, Hbeta, Hgamma, and Hdelta emission lines and the ionisation correction factors for He. With these improvements we used our updated empirical method to derive the 4He abundances and to test corrections for several systematic effects in a sample of 1610 spectra of low-metallicity extragalactic HII regions, the largest sample used so far. From this sample we extracted a subsample of 111 HII regions with Hbeta equivalent width EW(Hbeta) > 150A, with excitation parameter x = O^{2+}/O > 0.8, and with helium mass fraction Y derived with an accuracy better than 3%. With this subsample we derived the primordial 4He mass fraction Yp = 0.254+/-0.003 from linear regression Y-O/H. The derived value of Yp is higher at the 68% confidence level (CL) than that predicted by the standard big bang nucleosynthesis (SBBN) model, possibly implying the existence of different types of neutrino species in addition to the three known types of active neutrinos. Using the most recently derived primordial abundances D/H = (2.60+/-0.12)x10^{-5} and Yp = 0.254+/-0.003 and the chi^2 technique, we found that the best agreement between abundances of these light elements is achieved in a cosmological model with baryon mass density Omegab h^2 = 0.0234+/-0.0019 (68% CL) and an effective number of the neutrino species Neff = 3.51+/-0.35 (68% CL).

Discovery of a 7 mHz X-Ray Quasi-periodic Oscillation from the most Massive Stellar-mass Black Hole IC 10 X-1

We report the discovery with XMM-Newton of an approximately 7 mHz X-ray (0.3-10.0 keV) quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) from the eclipsing, high-inclination black hole binary IC 10 X-1. The QPO is significant at > 4.33 sigma confidence level and has a fractional amplitude (% rms) and a quality factor, Q, of approximately 11 and 4, respectively. The overall X-ray (0.3-10.0 keV) power spectrum in the frequency range 0.0001 – 0.1 Hz can be described by a power-law with an index of -2, and a QPO at 7 mHz. At frequencies > 0.02 Hz there is no evidence for significant variability. The fractional amplitude (rms) of the QPO is roughly energy-independent in the energy range of 0.3-1.5 keV. Above 1.5 keV the low signal to noise ratio of the data does not allow us to detect the QPO. By directly comparing these properties with the wide range of QPOs currently known from accreting black hole and neutron stars, we suggest that the 7 mHz QPO of IC 10 X-1 may be linked to one of the following three categories of QPOs: (1) the "heartbeat" mHz QPOs of the black hole sources GRS 1915+105 and IGR J17091-3624, or (2) the 0.6-2.4 Hz "dipper QPOs" of high-inclination neutron star systems, or (3) the mHz QPOs of Cygnus X-3.

 

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