2016-1-22-Gammarays.jpg

Indirect Detection

Dark matter particles can interact with each other, albeit very weakly.  In regions of high density, such as at the centers of galaxies, dark matter particles can annihilate to produce high-energy photons that may be observable.  The Fermi Large Area Telescope is currently one of the most powerful probes for such signals.  Our group develops novel analysis techniques to improve the discriminatory power of dark matter signals over astrophysical backgrounds in publicly available data from Fermi.  We have, for example, found evidence for a new population of sources in the Inner Galaxy that explains an excess of gamma rays previously attributed to dark matter.  This analysis harnesses basic ideas from image processing to distinguish photons that are 'clumpy' rather than smoothly distributed in the sky.  The potential locations of these sources are illustrated in the image on the left.  One possibility is that these sources are millisecond pulsars, dragged to the heart of our Galaxy during its formation.  

[in the press]