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Fang K.,University of Maryland University College | Fang K.,Joint Space Science Institute | Olinto A.V.,University of Chicago
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2016

High-energy cosmic rays can be accelerated in clusters of galaxies, by mega-parsec scale shocks induced by the accretion of gas during the formation of large-scale structures, or by powerful sources harbored in clusters. Once accelerated, the highest energy particles leave the cluster via almost rectilinear trajectories, while lower energy ones can be confined by the cluster magnetic field up to cosmological time and interact with the intracluster gas. Using a realistic model of the baryon distribution and the turbulent magnetic field in clusters, we studied the propagation and hadronic interaction of high-energy protons in the intracluster medium. We report the cumulative cosmic-ray and neutrino spectra generated by galaxy clusters, including embedded sources, and demonstrate that clusters can contribute a significant fraction of the observed IceCube neutrinos above 30 TeV while remaining undetected in high-energy cosmic rays and γ rays for reasonable choices of parameters and source scenarios. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Fang K.,University of Maryland University College | Fang K.,Joint Space Science Institute | Miller M.C.,University of Maryland University College | Miller M.C.,Joint Space Science Institute
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2016

The IceCube collaboration has reported the first detection of high-energy astrophysical neutrinos, including ∼50 high-energy starting events, but no individual sources have been identified. It is therefore important to develop the most sensitive and efficient possible algorithms to identify the point sources of these neutrinos. The most popular current method works by exploring a dense grid of possible directions to individual sources, and identifying the single direction with the maximum probability of having produced multiple detected neutrinos. This method has numerous strengths, but it is computationally intensive and because it focuses on the single best location for a point source, additional point sources are not included in the evidence. We propose a new maximum likelihood method that uses the angular separations between all pairs of neutrinos in the data. Unlike existing autocorrelation methods for this type of analysis, which also use angular separations between neutrino pairs, our method incorporates information about the point-spread function and can identify individual point sources. We find that if the angular resolution is a few degrees or better, then this approach reduces both false positive and false negative errors compared to the current method, and is also more computationally efficient up to, potentially, hundreds of thousands of detected neutrinos. © 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Avara M.J.,University of Maryland College Park | McKinney J.C.,Joint Space Science Institute | McKinney J.C.,University of Maryland College Park | Reynolds C.S.,University of Maryland College Park | Reynolds C.S.,Joint Space Science Institute
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2016

The radiative and jet efficiencies of thin magnetized accretion discs around black holes (BHs) are affected by BH spin and the presence of a magnetic field that, when strong, could lead to large deviations from Novikov-Thorne (NT) thin disc theory. To seek themaximum deviations, we perform general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations of radiatively efficient thin (half-height H to radius R of H/R ≈ 0.10) discs around moderately rotating BHs with a/M= 0.5. First, our simulations, each evolved for more than 70 000 rg/c (gravitational radius rg and speed of light c), show that large-scale magnetic field readily accretes inward even through our thin disc and builds-up to the magnetically arrested disc (MAD) state. Secondly, our simulations of thin MADs show the disc achieves a radiative efficiency of ηr ≈ 15 per cent (after estimating photon capture), which is about twice the NT value of ηr ~ 8 per cent for a/M = 0.5 and gives the same luminosity as an NT disc with a/M ≈ 0.9. Compared to prior simulations with ≲10 per cent deviations, our result of an ≈80 per cent deviation sets a new benchmark. Building on prior work, we are now able to complete an important scaling law which suggests that observed jet quenching in the high-soft state in BH X-ray binaries is consistent with an ever-present MAD state with a weak yet sustained jet. © 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Schnittman J.D.,NASA | Schnittman J.D.,Joint Space Science Institute
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

We use a Monte Carlo code to calculate the geodesic orbits of test particles around Kerr black holes, generating a distribution function of both bound and unbound populations of dark matter (DM) particles. From this distribution function, we calculate annihilation rates and observable gamma-ray spectra for a few simple DM models. The features of these spectra are sensitive to the black hole spin, observer inclination, and detailed properties of the DM annihilation cross-section and density profile. Confirming earlier analytic work, we find that for rapidly spinning black holes, the collisional Penrose process can reach efficiencies exceeding 600%, leading to a high-energy tail in the annihilation spectrum. The high particle density and large proper volume of the region immediately surrounding the horizon ensures that the observed flux from these extreme events is non-negligible. © 2015, Institute of Physics Publishing. All rights reserved.

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