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Archer A.,Washington University in St. Louis | Barnacka A.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Beilicke M.,Washington University in St. Louis | Benbow W.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | And 86 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

The Galactic center is an interesting region for high-energy (0.1-100 GeV) and very-high-energy (E > 100 GeV) γ-ray observations. Potential sources of GeV/TeV γ-ray emission have been suggested, e.g., the accretion of matter onto the supermassive black hole, cosmic rays from a nearby supernova remnant (e.g., Sgr A East), particle acceleration in a plerion, or the annihilation of dark matter particles. The Galactic center has been detected by EGRET and by Fermi/LAT in the MeV/GeV energy band. At TeV energies, the Galactic center was detected with moderate significance by the CANGAROO and Whipple 10 m telescopes and with high significance by H.E.S.S., MAGIC, and VERITAS. We present the results from three years of VERITAS observations conducted at large zenith angles resulting in a detection of the Galactic center on the level of 18 standard deviations at energies above ∼2.5 TeV. The energy spectrum is derived and is found to be compatible with hadronic, leptonic, and hybrid emission models discussed in the literature. Future, more detailed measurements of the high-energy cutoff and better constraints on the high-energy flux variability will help to refine and/or disentangle the individual models. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Abeysekara A.U.,University of Utah | Archambault S.,McGill University | Archer A.,Washington University in St. Louis | Aune T.,University of California at Los Angeles | And 111 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2015

Outbursts from gamma-ray quasars provide insights on the relativistic jets of active galactic nuclei and constraints on the diffuse radiation fields that fill the universe. The detection of significant emission above 100 GeV from a distant quasar would show that some of the radiated gamma-rays escape pair-production interactions with low-energy photons, be it the extragalactic background light (EBL), or the radiation near the supermassive black hole lying at the jet's base. VERITAS detected gamma-ray emission up to ∼200 GeV from PKS 1441+25 (z = 0.939) during 2015 April, a period of high activity across all wavelengths. This observation of PKS 1441+25 suggests that the emission region is located thousands of Schwarzschild radii away from the black hole. The gamma-ray detection also sets a stringent upper limit on the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared EBL intensity, suggesting that galaxy surveys have resolved most, if not all, of the sources of the EBL at these wavelengths. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Aliu E.,Columbia University | Archambault S.,McGill University | Behera B.,German Electron Synchrotron | Berger K.,University of Delaware | And 75 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2013

We present the results of a multiwavelength observational campaign on the TeV binary system LS I +61°303 with the VERITAS telescope array (>200 GeV), Fermi-LAT (0.3-300 GeV), and Swift/XRT (2-10 keV). The data were taken from 2011 December through 2012 January and show a strong detection in all three wavebands. During this period VERITAS obtained 24.9 hr of quality selected livetime data in which LS I +61°303 was detected at a statistical significance of 11.9σ. These TeV observations show evidence for nightly variability in the TeV regime at a post-trial significance of 3.6σ. The combination of the simultaneously obtained TeV and X-ray fluxes do not demonstrate any evidence for a correlation between emission in the two bands. For the first time since the launch of the Fermi satellite in 2008, this TeV detection allows the construction of a detailed MeV-TeV spectral energy distribution from LS I +61°303. This spectrum shows a distinct cutoff in emission near 4 GeV, with emission seen by the VERITAS observations following a simple power-law above 200 GeV. This feature in the spectrum of LS I +61°303, obtained from overlapping observations with Fermi-LAT and VERITAS, may indicate that there are two distinct populations of accelerated particles producing the GeV and TeV emission. © 2013. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

Archambault S.,McGill University | Archer A.,Washington University in St. Louis | Benbow W.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | Bird R.,University College Dublin | And 80 more authors.
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2016

Between the beginning of its full-scale scientific operations in 2007 and 2012, the VERITAS Cherenkov telescope array observed more than 130 blazars; of these, 26 were detected as very-high-energy (VHE; E > 100 GeV) γ-ray sources. In this work, we present the analysis results of a sample of 114 undetected objects. The observations constitute a total live-time of ∼570 hr. The sample includes several unidentified Fermi-Large Area Telescope (LAT) sources (located at high Galactic latitude) as well as all the sources from the second Fermi-LAT catalog that are contained within the field of view of the VERITAS observations. We have also performed optical spectroscopy measurements in order to estimate the redshift of some of these blazars that do not have spectroscopic distance estimates. We present new optical spectra from the Kast instrument on the Shane telescope at the Lick observatory for 18 blazars included in this work, which allowed for the successful measurement or constraint on the redshift of four of them. For each of the blazars included in our sample, we provide the flux upper limit in the VERITAS energy band. We also study the properties of the significance distributions and we present the result of a stacked analysis of the data set, which shows a 4σ excess. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

Aliu E.,Barnard College | Archambault S.,McGill University | Aune T.,University of California at Los Angeles | Benbow W.,Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | And 79 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal Letters | Year: 2014

In 2013 March, a flaring episode from the Crab Nebula lasting 2 weeks was detected by Fermi-LAT (Large Area Telescope on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope). The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS) provides simultaneous observations throughout this period. During the flare, Fermi-LAT detected a 20 fold increase in flux above the average synchrotron flux >100 MeV seen from the Crab Nebula. Simultaneous measurements with VERITAS are consistent with the non-variable long-term average Crab Nebula flux at TeV energies. Assuming a linear correlation between the very high energy flux change >1 TeV and the flux change seen in the Fermi-LAT band >100 MeV during the period of simultaneous observations, the linear correlation factor can be constrained to be at most 8.6 × 10-3 with 95% confidence. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..

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