Constraints on light particles from supernova SN 1987A

John Ellis, K. A. Olive

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We show how the recent observations of neutrinos from SN 1987A can be used to constrain the properties of light particles, including the number of neutrino species Nv and the coupling strength of a light pseudoscalar boson such as the axion. First we demonstrate the consistency of Kamiokande II and IMB III data with each other and with the standard theory of neutrino emission from a supernova core of radius R≅20 km and effective temperature T≅5 to 6 MeV. The total amount of energy emission by neutrinos is compatble with the binding energy of a neutron star only if Nv≤6. The upper limit on the difference between the binding energy and the energy lost via Nv = 3 neutrino species excludes light pseudoscalar bosons with couplings to electrons in the range 10-27≤αe≤10-24, which enables one to extend astrophysical bounds on the axion decay constant to f{hook}a≥4×109 GeV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-530
Number of pages6
JournalPhysics Letters B
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 23 1987

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank T. Walsh for discussions and also D. Schramm, who tells us that he has obtained similar limits. One of us (J.E) thanks the Fermilab Astrophysics Group and the University of Minnesota for their kind hospitality during this work. We both thank Northwest Orient Airlines for their hospitality while it was being completed.T he work of K.A.O. was supported in part by DOE grant DEE-AC02-83ER-40105.


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