VERITAS Dark Matter search in dwarf spheroidal galaxies: an extended analysis

VERITAS collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Dark matter (DM) is largely believed to be the dominant component of the matter content of the Universe. Astronomical measurements can be utilized to search for Standard Model (SM) annihilation or decay products of DM, complementing direct and collider-based searches. Among DM particle candidates, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) are an attractive one. Their decay or annihilation could produce secondary particles including very-high-energy (VHE: E > 100 GeV) gamma rays, which could be detected by imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs). One of the most favourable target classes for DM searches are dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs), dark matter-dominated objects with a negligible predicted gamma-ray emission due to apparent absence of gas and on-going star formation. IACTs, whose point spread functions (PSFs, defined as 68% containment radius) are typically 0.1 at 1 TeV, have the necessary angular resolution to detect extended emission from some dSphs. Thus, an extended-source analysis may give an improvement to DM sensitivity, compared to a point-source analysis. In this work, we used observations made since 2007 to 2013 by VERITAS, an array of four imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes sensitive to VHE gamma rays in the 100 GeV - 30 TeV energy range. We performed an unbinned maximum likelihood estimation incorporating the dSph angular profiles of four dSphs and tested its effectiveness against the traditional spectral analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number515
JournalProceedings of Science
StatePublished - Mar 18 2022
Event37th International Cosmic Ray Conference, ICRC 2021 - Virtual, Berlin, Germany
Duration: Jul 12 2021Jul 23 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution, by NSERC in Canada, and by the Helmholtz Association in Germany. This research used resources provided by the Open Science Grid, which is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility operated under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. We acknowledge the excellent work of the technical support staff at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory and at the collaborating institutions in the construction and operation of the instrument.

Publisher Copyright:
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