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[en] We constrain the Cosmic Star Formation Rate (CSFR) by requiring that massive stars produce the observed UV, optical, and IR light while at the same time not overproduce the Diffuse Supernova Neutrino Background as bounded by Super-Kamiokande. With the massive star component so constrained we then show that a reasonable choice of stellar Initial Mass Function and other parameters results in SNIa rates and iron yields in good agreement with data. In this way we define a ''concordance'' CSFR that predicts the optical SNII rate and the SNIa contribution to the MeV Cosmic Gamma-Ray Background. The CSFR constrained to reproduce these and other proxies of intermediate and massive star formation is more clearly delineated than if it were measured by any one technique and has the following testable consequences: (1) SNIa contribute only a small fraction of the MeV Cosmic Gamma-Ray Background, (2) massive star core-collapse is nearly always accompanied by a successful optical SNII, and (3) the Diffuse Supernova Neutrino Background is tantalizingly close to detectability
[en] Simple models are constructed for ''acceleressence'' dark energy: the latent heat of a phase transition occurring in a hidden sector governed by the seesaw mass scale v2/MPl, where v is the electroweak scale and MPl the gravitational mass scale. In our models, the seesaw scale is stabilized by supersymmetry, implying that the LHC must discover superpartners with a spectrum that reflects a low scale of fundamental supersymmetry breaking. Newtonian gravity may be modified by effects arising from the exchange of fields in the acceleressence sector whose Compton wavelengths are typically of order the millimeter scale. There are two classes of models. In the first class the universe is presently in a metastable vacuum and will continue to inflate until tunneling processes eventually induce a first order transition. In the simplest such model, the range of the new force is bounded to be larger than 25 (micro)m in the absence of fine-tuning of parameters, and for couplings of order unity it is expected to be ∼ 100 (micro)m. In the second class of models thermal effects maintain the present vacuum energy of the universe, but on further cooling, the universe will ''soon'' smoothly relax to a matter dominated era. In this case, the range of the new force is also expected to be of order the millimeter scale or larger, although its strength is uncertain. A firm prediction of this class of models is the existence of additional energy density in radiation at the eV era, which can potentially be probed in precision measurements of the cosmic microwave background. An interesting possibility is that the transition towards a matter dominated era has occurred in the very recent past, with the consequence that the universe is currently decelerating
[en] We explore the properties of dark matter in theories with two universal extra dimensions, where the lightest Kaluza-Klein state is a spin-0 neutral particle, representing a six-dimensional photon polarized along the extra dimensions. Annihilation of this 'spinless photon' proceeds predominantly through Higgs boson exchange, and is largely independent of other Kaluza-Klein particles. The measured relic abundance sets an upper limit on the spinless photon mass of 500 GeV, which decreases to almost 200 GeV if the Higgs boson is light. The phenomenology of this dark matter candidate is strikingly different from Kaluza-Klein dark matter in theories with one universal extra dimension. Elastic scattering of the spinless photon with quarks is helicity suppressed, making its direct detection challenging, although possible at upcoming experiments. The prospects for indirect detection with gamma rays and antimatter are similar to those of neutralinos. The rates predicted at neutrino telescopes are below the sensitivity of next-generation experiments
[en] For a large class of dark energy (DE) models, for which the effective gravitational constant is a constant and there is no direct exchange of energy between DE and dark matter (DM), knowledge of the expansion history suffices to reconstruct the growth factor of linearized density perturbations in the non-relativistic matter component on scales much smaller than the Hubble distance. In this paper, we develop a non-parametric method for extracting information about the perturbative growth factor from data pertaining to the luminosity or angular size distances. A comparison of the reconstructed density contrast with observations of large-scale structure and gravitational lensing can help distinguish DE models such as the cosmological constant and quintessence from models based on modified gravity theories as well as models in which DE and DM are either unified or interact directly. We show that for current supernovae (SNe) data, the linear growth factor at z = 0.3 can be constrained to 5% and the linear growth rate to 6%. With future SNe data, such as expected from the Joint Dark Energy Mission, we may be able to constrain the growth factor to 2%-3% and the growth rate to 3%-4% at z = 0.3 with this unbiased, model-independent reconstruction method. For future baryon acoustic oscillation data which would deliver measurements of both the angular diameter distance and the Hubble parameter, it should be possible to constrain the growth factor at z = 2.5%-9%. These constraints grow tighter with the errors on the data sets. With a large quantity of data expected in the next few years, this method can emerge as a competitive tool for distinguishing between different models of dark energy.
[en] Here, the Eddington-inspired-Born-Infeld (EiBI) model is reformulated within the mimetic approach. In the presence of a mimetic field, the model contains non-trivial vacuum solutions which could be free of spacetime singularity because of the Born-Infeld nature of the theory. We study a realistic primordial vacuum universe and prove the existence of regular solutions, such as primordial inflationary solutions of de Sitter type or bouncing solutions. Besides, the linear instabilities present in the EiBI model are found to be avoidable for some interesting bouncing solutions in which the physical metric as well as the auxiliary metric are regular at the background level.
[en] The High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) gamma-ray observatory is a wide field-of-view observatory sensitive to 500 GeV – 100 TeV gamma rays and cosmic rays. With its observations over 2/3 of the sky every day, the HAWC observatory is sensitive to a wide variety of astrophysical sources, including possible gamma rays from dark matter. Dark matter annihilation and decay in the Milky Way Galaxy should produce gamma-ray signals across many degrees on the sky. The HAWC instantaneous field-of-view of 2 sr enables observations of extended regions on the sky, such as those from dark matter in the Galactic halo. Here we show limits on the dark matter annihilation cross-section and decay lifetime from HAWC observations of the Galactic halo with 15 months of data. These are some of the most robust limits on TeV and PeV dark matter, largely insensitive to the dark matter morphology. These limits begin to constrain models in which PeV IceCube neutrinos are explained by dark matter which primarily decays into hadrons.
[en] The onset of >1000 years of Younger Dryas cooling, broad-scale extinctions, and the disappearance of the Clovis culture in North America simultaneously occurred 12,900 years ago followed immediately by the appearance of a carbon-rich black layer at many locations. In situ bones of extinct megafauna and Clovis tools occur only beneath this black layer and not within or above it. At the base of the black mat at 9 Clovis-age sites in North America and a site in Belgium numerous extraterrestrial impact markers were found including magnetic grains highly enriched in iridium, magnetic microspherules, vesicular carbon spherules enriched in cubic, hexagonal, and n-type nanodiamonds, glass-like carbon containing Fullerenes and nanodiamonds, charcoal, soot, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The same impact markers were found mixed throughout the sediments of 15 Carolina Bays, elliptical depressions along the Atlantic coast, whose parallel major axes point towards either the Great Lakes or Hudson Bay. The magnetic grains and spherules have an unusual Fe/Ti composition similar to lunar Procellarum KREEP Terrane and the organic constituents are enriched in 14C leading to radiocarbon dates often well into the future. These characteristics are inconsistent with known meteorites and suggest that the impact was by a previous unobserved, possibly extrasolar body. The concentration of impact markers peaks near the Great Lakes and their unusually high water content suggests that a 4.6 km-wide comet fragmented and exploded over the Laurentide Ice Sheet creating numerous craters that now persist at the bottom of the Great Lakes. The coincidence of this impact, the onset of Younger Dryas cooling, extinction of the megafauna, and the appearance of a black mat strongly suggests that all these events are directly related. These results have unleashed an avalanche of controversy which I will address in this paper.
[en] A deep understanding of the Epoch of Reionization is still missing in our knowledge of the universe. While future probes will allow us to test the precise evolution of the free electron fraction from redshifts between and , at present one could ask what kind of reionization processes are allowed by present Cosmic Microwave Background temperature and polarization measurements. An early contribution to reionization could imply a departure from the standard picture where star formation determines the reionization onset. BBy considering a broad class of possible reionization parameterizations, we find that current data do not require an early reionization component in our universe and that only one marginal class of models, based on a particular realization of reionization, may point to that. In addition, the frequentist Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) provides strong evidence against alternative reionization histories, favoring the most simple reionization scenario, which describes reionization by means of only one (constant) reionization optical depth .
[en] X-ray cluster measurements interpreted with a universal baryon/gas mass fraction can theoretically serve as a cosmological distance probe. We examine issues of cosmological sensitivity for current (e.g., Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton) and next generation (e.g., Con-X, XEUS) observations, along with systematic uncertainties and biases. To give competitive next generation constraints on dark energy, we find that systematics will need to be controlled to better than 1% and any evolution in fgas (and other cluster gas properties) must be calibrated so the residual uncertainty is weaker than (1+z)0.03
[en] The method pioneered by Ruffini and Bonazzola (RB) to describe boson stars involves an expansion of the boson field which is linear in creation and annihilation operators. This expansion constitutes an exact solution to a non-interacting field theory, and has been used as a reasonable ansatz for an interacting one. In this work, we show how one can go beyond the RB ansatz towards an exact solution of the interacting operator Klein-Gordon equation, which can be solved iteratively to ever higher precision. Our Generalized Ruffini-Bonazzola approach takes into account contributions from nontrivial harmonic dependence of the wavefunction, using a sum of terms with energy , where and is the chemical potential of a single bound axion. The method critically depends on an expansion in a parameter , where is the mass of the boson. In the case of the axion potential, we calculate corrections which are relevant for axion stars in the transition or dense branches. We find with high precision the local minimum of the mass, , at , where is the axion decay constant. This point marks the crossover from transition to dense branches of solutions, and a corresponding crossover from structural instability to stability.