F. W. Stecker - NASA/UCLA

F. W. Stecker
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F. W. Stecker
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NASA/UCLA
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High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (32)
 
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (25)
 
Astrophysics (24)
 
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (13)
 
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (11)
 
Astrophysics of Galaxies (3)
 
Physics - Space Physics (2)
 
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (2)
 
High Energy Physics - Theory (2)
 
Physics - Instrumentation and Detectors (1)
 
High Energy Physics - Experiment (1)

Publications Authored By F. W. Stecker

We consider here three dark matter models with the gauge symmetry of the standard model plus an additional local $U(1)_D$ factor. One model is secluded and two models are flipped. All of these models include one dark fermion and one vector boson that attains mass through the Stueckelberg mechanism. Read More

We have previously calculated the intergalactic background light (IBL) as a function of redshift in the far ultraviolet to near infrared range, based purely on data from deep galaxy surveys. Here we utilize similar methods to determine the mid- and far infrared IBL out to a wavelength of 850 microns. Our approach enables us to constrain the range of photon densities, based on the uncertainties from observationally determined luminosity densities and colors. Read More

The discovery of extraterrestrial very-high-energy neutrinos by the IceCube collaboration has launched a quest for the identification of their astrophysical sources. Gamma-ray blazars have been predicted to yield a cumulative neutrino signal exceeding the atmospheric background above energies of 100 TeV, assuming that both the neutrinos and the gamma-ray photons are produced by accelerated protons in relativistic jets. Since the background spectrum falls steeply with increasing energy, the individual events with the clearest signature of being of an extraterrestrial origin are those at PeV energies. Read More

We propose to investigate a secluded WIMP dark matter model consisting of neutral fermions as the dark matter candidate and a Proca-Wentzel (PW) field as a mediator. In the model that we consider here, dark matter WIMPs interact with standard model (SM) particles only through the PW field of ~ MeV -- multi-GeV mass particles. The interactions occur via an U(1)' mediator, V_{\mu}', which couples to the SM by kinetic mixing with U(1) hypercharge bosons, B_{\mu}. Read More

High energy cosmic neutrino observations provide a sensitive test of Lorentz invariance violation, which may be a consequence of quantum gravity theories. We consider a class of non-renormalizable, Lorentz invariance violating operators that arise in an effective field theory description of Lorentz invariance violation in the neutrino sector inspired by Planck-scale physics and quantum gravity models. We assume a conservative generic scenario for the redshift distribution of extragalactic neutrino sources and employ Monte Carlo techniques to describe superluminal neutrino propagation, treating kinematically allowed energy losses of superluminal neutrinos caused by both vacuum pair emission and neutrino splitting. Read More

The IceCube observation of cosmic neutrinos with $E_{\nu} > 60$ TeV, most of which are likely of extragalactic origin, allows one to severely constrain Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) in the neutrino sector, allowing for the possible existence of superluminal neutrinos. The subsequent neutrino energy loss by vacuum $e^+e^-$ pair emission (VPE) is strongly dependent on the strength of LIV. In this paper we explore the physics and cosmology of superluminal neutrino propagation. Read More

We extend our previous model-independent determination of the intergalactic background light (IBL), based purely on galaxy survey data, out to a wavelength of 5 microns. Our approach enables us to constrain the range of photon densities, based on the uncertainties from observationally determined luminosity densities and colors. We further determine a 68% confidence upper and lower limit on the opacity of the universe to gamma-rays up to energies of 1. Read More

We describe the science motivation and development of a pair production telescope for medium-energy gamma-ray polarimetry. Our instrument concept, the Advanced Energetic Pair Telescope (AdEPT), takes advantage of the Three-Dimensional Track Imager, a low-density gaseous time projection chamber, to achieve angular resolution within a factor of two of the pair production kinematics limit (~0.6 deg at 70 MeV), continuum sensitivity comparable with the Fermi-LAT front detector (<3x10-6 MeV cm-2 s-1 at 70 MeV), and minimum detectable polarization less than 10% for a 10 millicrab source in 106 seconds. Read More

Some Quantum Gravity (QG) theories allow for a violation of Lorentz invariance (LIV), manifesting as a dependence of the velocity of light in vacuum on its energy. If such a dependence exists, then photons of different energies emitted together by a distant source will arrive at the Earth at different times. High-energy (GeV) transient emissions from distant astrophysical sources such as Gamma-ray Bursts (GRBs) and Active Galaxy Nuclei can be used to search for and constrain LIV. Read More

High-energy astrophysics observations provide the best possibilities to detect a very small violation of Lorentz invariance, such as may be related to the structure of space-time near the Planck scale. I discuss the possible signatures of Lorentz invariance violation that can be manifested by observing the spectra, polarization, and timing of gamma-rays from active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts. Other sensitive tests are provided by observations of the spectra of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays and very high-energy neutrinos. Read More

The observation of two PeV-scale neutrino events reported by Ice Cube can, in principle, allows one to place constraints on Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) in the neutrino sector. After first arguing that at least one of the IceCube events was of extragalactic origin, I derive an upper limit for {\it the difference} between putative superluminal neutrino and electron velocities of $\le \sim 5.6 \times 10^{-19}$ in units where $c = 1$, confirming that the observed PeV neutrinos could have reached Earth from extragalactic sources. Read More

I show that the high energy neutrino flux predicted to arise from AGN cores can explain the PeV neutrinos detected by Ice Cube without conflicting with the constraints from the observed extragalactic cosmic ray and gamma-ray backgrounds. Read More

We analyze the MeV/GeV emission from four bright Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) observed by the Fermi-Large Area Telescope to produce robust, stringent constraints on a dependence of the speed of light in vacuo on the photon energy (vacuum dispersion), a form of Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) allowed by some Quantum Gravity (QG) theories. First, we use three different and complementary techniques to constrain the total degree of dispersion observed in the data. Additionally, using a maximally conservative set of assumptions on possible source-intrinsic spectral-evolution effects, we constrain any vacuum dispersion solely attributed to LIV. Read More

2013May
Affiliations: 1School of Physics & Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, Barnard College, Columbia University, 3Department of Physics and Astronomy, Van Allen Hall, University of Iowa, 4Department of Physics and Astronomy, Van Allen Hall, University of Iowa, 5Physics Department, Washington University in St. Louis, 6Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, 7Physics Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 8NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and University of California at Los Angeles, 9School of Physics & Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Institute of Technology, 10Laboratoire Univers et Particules de Montpellier, Université Montpellier 2, 11Argonne National Laboratory

We discuss the prospects of doing tests of Lorentz invariance with gamma-rays observed with present and future ground based gamma-ray observatories. Read More

Secondary nuclear production physics is receiving increased attention given the high-quality measurements of the gamma-ray emissivity of local interstellar gas between ~50 MeV and ~40 GeV, obtained with the Large Area Telescope on board the Fermi space observatory. More than 90% of the gas-related emissivity above 1 GeV is attributed to gamma-rays from the decay of neutral pions formed in collisions between cosmic rays and interstellar matter, with lepton-induced processes becoming increasingly important below 1 GeV. The elementary kinematics of neutral pion production and decay are re-examined in light of two physics questions: does isobaric production follow a scaling behavior? and what is the minimum proton kinetic energy needed to make a gamma-ray of a certain energy formed through intermediate pi0 production? The emissivity spectrum will allow the interstellar cosmic-ray spectrum to be determined reliably, providing a reference for origin and propagation studies as well as input to solar modulation models. Read More

2013Feb
Authors: The Fermi-LAT collaboration, :, M. Ackermann, M. Ajello, A. Allafort, L. Baldini, J. Ballet, G. Barbiellini, M. G. Baring, D. Bastieri, K. Bechtol, R. Bellazzini, R. D. Blandford, E. D. Bloom, E. Bonamente, A. W. Borgland, E. Bottacini, T. J. Brandt, J. Bregeon, M. Brigida, P. Bruel, R. Buehler, G. Busetto, S. Buson, G. A. Caliandro, R. A. Cameron, P. A. Caraveo, J. M. Casandjian, C. Cecchi, Ö. Çelik, E. Charles, S. Chaty, R. C. G. Chaves, A. Chekhtman, C. C. Cheung, J. Chiang, G. Chiaro, A. N. Cillis, S. Ciprini, R. Claus, J. Cohen-Tanugi, L. R. Cominsky, J. Conrad, S. Corbel, S. Cutini, F. D'Ammando, A. de Angelis, F. de Palma, C. D. Dermer, E. do Couto e Silva, P. S. Drell, A. Drlica-Wagner, L. Falletti, C. Favuzzi, E. C. Ferrara, A. Franckowiak, Y. Fukazawa, S. Funk, P. Fusco, F. Gargano, S. Germani, N. Giglietto, P. Giommi, F. Giordano, M. Giroletti, T. Glanzman, G. Godfrey, I. A. Grenier, M. -H. Grondin, J. E. Grove, S. Guiriec, D. Hadasch, Y. Hanabata, A. K. Harding, M. Hayashida, K. Hayashi, E. Hays, J. Hewitt, A. B. Hill, R. E. Hughes, M. S. Jackson, T. Jogler, G. Jóhannesson, A. S. Johnson, T. Kamae, J. Kataoka, J. Katsuta, J. Knödlseder, M. Kuss, J. Lande, S. Larsson, L. Latronico, M. Lemoine-Goumard, F. Longo, F. Loparco, M. N. Lovellette, P. Lubrano, G. M. Madejski, F. Massaro, M. Mayer, M. N. Mazziotta, J. E. McEnery, J. Mehault, P. F. Michelson, R. P. Mignani, W. Mitthumsiri, T. Mizuno, A. A. Moiseev, M. E. Monzani, A. Morselli, I. V. Moskalenko, S. Murgia, T. Nakamori, R. Nemmen, E. Nuss, M. Ohno, T. Ohsugi, N. Omodei, M. Orienti, E. Orlando, J. F. Ormes, D. Paneque, J. S. Perkins, M. Pesce-Rollins, F. Piron, G. Pivato, S. Rainò, R. Rando, M. Razzano, S. Razzaque, A. Reimer, O. Reimer, S. Ritz, C. Romoli, M. Sánchez-Conde, A. Schulz, C. Sgrò, P. E. Simeon, E. J. Siskind, D. A. Smith, G. Spandre, P. Spinelli, F. W. Stecker, A. W. Strong, D. J. Suson, H. Tajima, H. Takahashi, T. Takahashi, T. Tanaka, J. G. Thayer, J. B. Thayer, D. J. Thompson, S. E. Thorsett, L. Tibaldo, O. Tibolla, M. Tinivella, E. Troja, Y. Uchiyama, T. L. Usher, J. Vandenbroucke, V. Vasileiou, G. Vianello, V. Vitale, A. P. Waite, M. Werner, B. L. Winer, K. S. Wood, M. Wood, R. Yamazaki, Z. Yang, S. Zimmer

Cosmic rays are particles (mostly protons) accelerated to relativistic speeds. Despite wide agreement that supernova remnants (SNRs) are the sources of galactic cosmic rays, unequivocal evidence for the acceleration of protons in these objects is still lacking. When accelerated protons encounter interstellar material, they produce neutral pions, which in turn decay into gamma rays. Read More

I present the results of a new approach to the intensity and photon density spectrum of the intergalactic background light as a function of redshift using observational data obtained in many different wavelength bands from local to deep galaxy surveys. This enables an empirical determination of both the EBL and its observationally based uncertainties. Using these results one can place 68% confidence upper and lower limits on the opacity of the universe to {\gamma}-rays, free of the theoretical assumptions that were needed for past calculations. Read More

We calculate the intensity and photon spectrum of the intergalactic background light (IBL) as a function of redshift using an approach based on observational data obtained in many different wavelength bands from local to deep galaxy surveys. This allows us to obtain an empirical determination of the IBL and to quantify its observationally based uncertainties. Using our results on the IBL, we then place 68% confidence upper and lower limits on the opacity of the universe to gamma-rays, free of the theoretical assumptions that were needed for past calculations. Read More

Constraints on possible Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) to first order in $E/M_{\rm Planck}$ for photons in the framework of effective field theory (EFT) are discussed, taking cosmological factors into account. Then, using the reported detection of polarized soft $\gamma$-ray emission from the $\gamma$-ray burst GRB041219a that is indicative of an absence of vacuum birefringence, together with a very recent improved method for estimating the redshift of the burst, we derive constraints on the dimension 5 Lorentz violating modification to the Lagrangian of an effective local QFT for QED. Our new constraints are more than five orders of magnitude better than recent constraints from observations of the Crab Nebula. Read More

We present new theoretical estimates of the relative contributions of unresolved blazars and star-forming galaxies to the extragalactic gamma-ray background (EGB) and discuss constraints on the contributions from alternative mechanisms such as dark matter annihilation and truly diffuse gamma-ray production. We find that the Fermi source count data do not rule out a scenario in which the EGB is dominated by emission from unresolved blazars, though unresolved star-forming galaxies may also contribute significantly to the background, within order-of-magnitude uncertainties. In addition, we find that the spectrum of the unresolved star-forming galaxy contribution cannot explain the EGB spectrum found by EGRET at energies between 50 and 200 MeV, whereas the spectrum of unresolved FSRQs, when accounting for the energy-dependent effects of source confusion, could be consistent with the combined spectrum of the low-energy EGRET EGB measurements and the Fermi-LAT EGB measurements. Read More

We have previously shown that a very small amount of Lorentz invariance violation (LIV), which suppresses photomeson interactions of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) with cosmic background radiation (CBR) photons, can produce a spectrum of cosmic rays that is consistent with that currently observed by the Pierre Auger Observatory (PAO) and HiRes experiments. Here, we calculate the corresponding flux of high energy neutrinos generated by the propagation of UHECR protons through the CBR in the presence of LIV. We find that LIV produces a reduction in the flux of the highest energy neutrinos and a reduction in the energy of the peak of the neutrino energy flux spectrum, both depending on the strength of the LIV. Read More

The topic of Lorentz invariance violation is a fundamental question in physics that has taken on particular interest in theoretical explorations of quantum gravity scenarios. I discuss various gamma-ray observations that give limits on predicted potential effects of Lorentz invariance violation. Among these are spectral data from ground based observations of the multi-TeV gamma-rays from nearby AGN, INTEGRAL detections of polarized soft gamma-rays from the vicinity of the Crab pulsar, Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope studies of photon propagation timing from gamma-ray bursts, and Auger data on the spectrum of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays. Read More

We derive a relation for the steepening of blazar gamma-ray spectra between the multi-GeV Fermi energy range and the TeV energy range observed by atmospheric Cerenkov telescopes. The change in spectral index is produced by two effects: (1) an intrinsic steepening, independent of redshift, owing to the properties of emission and absorption in the source, and (2) a redshift-dependent steepening produced by intergalactic pair production interactions of blazar gamma-rays with low energy photons of the intergalactic background light (IBL). Given this relation, with good enough data on the mean gamma-ray SED of TeV selected BL Lacs, the redshift evolution of the IBL can, in principle, be determined independently of stellar evolution models. Read More

Ultrahigh energy cosmic rays that produce giant extensive showers of charged particles and photons when they interact in the Earth's atmosphere provide a unique tool to search for new physics. Of particular interest is the possibility of detecting a very small violation of Lorentz invariance such as may be related to the structure of space-time near the Planck scale of $\sim 10^{-35}$m. We discuss here the possible signature of Lorentz invariance violation on the spectrum of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays as compared with present observations of giant air showers. Read More

A fundamental question that can be answered in the next decade is: WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE HIGHEST ENERGY COSMIC PARTICLES? The discovery of the sources of the highest energy cosmic rays will reveal the workings of the most energetic astrophysical environments in the recent universe. Candidate sources range from the birth of compact objects to explosions related to gamma-ray bursts or generated around supermassive black holes in active galactic nuclei. In addition to beginning a new era of high-energy astrophysics, the study of ultra-high energy cosmic rays will constrain the structure of the Galactic and extragalactic magnetic fields. Read More

There has been much interest in possible violations of Lorentz invariance, particularly motivated by quantum gravity theories. It has been suggested that a small amount of Lorentz invariance violation (LIV) could turn off photomeson interactions of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) with photons of the cosmic background radiation and thereby eliminate the resulting sharp steepening in the spectrum of the highest energy CRs predicted by Greisen Zatsepin and Kuzmin (GZK). Recent measurements of the UHECR spectrum reported by the HiRes and Auger collaborations, however, indicate the presence of the GZK effect. Read More

The MAGIC collaboration has recently reported the detection of the strong gamma-ray blazar 3C279 during a 1-2 day flare. They have used their spectral observations to draw conclusions regarding upper limits on the opacity of the Universe to high energy gamma-rays and, by implication, upper limits on the extragalactic mid-infrared background radiation. In this paper we examine the effect of gamma-ray absorption by the extragalactic infrared radiation on intrinsic spectra for this blazar and compare our results with the observational data on 3C279. Read More

2007Oct
Affiliations: 1NASA/GSFC, 2James Madison Univ.
Category: Astrophysics

We examine the effect of gamma-ray absorption by the extragalactic infrared radiation on intrinsic spectra predicted for 1ES0229+200 and compare our results with the observational data. We find agreement with our previous results on the shape of the IR spectral energy distribution (SED), contrary to the recent assertion of the HESS group. Our analysis indicates that 1ES0229+200 has a very hard intrinsic spectrum with a spectral index between 1. Read More

Ongoing deep surveys of galaxy luminosity functions, spectral energy distributions and backwards evolution models of star formation rates can be used to calculate the past history of intergalactic photon densities and, from them, the present and past optical depth of the universe. This procedure can be reversed by looking for sharp cutoffs in the spectra of extragalactic gamma-ray sources at high redshifts in the multi-GeV energy range with GLAST. Determining the cutoff energies of sources with known redshifts and little intrinsic absorption can enable a more precise determination of the past intergalactic photon density and thus allow a better determination of the past history of the total star formation rate, including that from galaxies too faint to be observed. Read More

The observed spectra of blazars, their intrinsic emission, and the underlying populations of radiating particles are intimately related. The use of these sources as probes of the extragalactic infrared background, a prospect propelled by recent advances in TeV-band telescopes, soon to be augmented by observations by NASA's upcoming Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), has been a topic of great recent interest. Here, it is demonstrated that if particles in blazar jets are accelerated at relativistic shocks, then gamma-ray spectra with indices less than 1. Read More

2007May
Affiliations: 1NASA/GSFC, 2NASA/GSFC, 3NASA/GSFC
Category: Astrophysics

Analysis of data from the EGRET gamma-ray detector on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory indicated an anomaly in the form of an excess diffuse galactic flux at GeV energies over that which was theoretically predicted. Various explanations for this anomaly have been put forth, including the invocation of supersymmetric dark matter annihilation. We reexamine these explanations here, including a new discussion of the possible systematic errors in the sensitivity determination of the EGRET detector. Read More

Stecker, Malkan and Scully, have shown how ongoing deep surveys of galaxy luminosity functions, spectral energy distributions and backwards evolution models of star formation rates can be used to calculate the past history of intergalactic photon densities for energies from 0.03 eV to the Lyman limit at 13.6 eV and for redshifts out to 6 (called here the intergalactic background light or IBL). Read More

Table 1 in our paper, ApJ 648, 774 (2006) entitled "Intergalactic Photon Spectra from the Far IR to the UV Lyman Limit for 0 < z < 6 and the Optical Depth of the Universe to High Energy Gamma-Rays" had erroneous numbers for the coefficients fitting the parametric form for the optical depth of the universe to gamma-rays. The correct values for these parameters as described in the original text are given here in a corrected table for various redshifts for the baseline model (upper row) and fast evolution (lower row) for each individual redshift. The parametric approximation is good for optical depths between 0. Read More

The determination of the densities of intergalactic photons from the FIR to the UV produced by stellar emission and dust reradiation at various redshifts can provide an independent measure of the star formation history of the universe. High energy gamma-rays can annihilate with FIR-UV photons to produce electron-positron pairs which result in high-end absorption cutoffs in the gamma-ray spectra of extragalactic sources. Future measurements of such absorption in the spectra of extragalactic high energy gamma-ray sources at higher redshifts from detectors such as the (soon to be launched) GLAST space telescope can be used to determine intergalactic photon densities in the distant past, thereby shedding light on the history of star formation and galaxy evolution. Read More

Loeb and Waxman have argued that high energy neutrinos from the decay of pions produced in interactions of cosmic rays with interstellar gas in starburst galaxies would be produced with a large enough flux to be observable. Here we obtain an upper limit to the diffuse neutrino flux from starburst galaxies which is a factor of $\sim$5 lower than the flux which they predict. Compared with predicted fluxes from other extragalactic high energy neutrino sources, starburst neutrinos with $\sim$ PeV energies would have a flux considerably below that predicted for AGN models. Read More

We derive a new and user friendly simple analytic approximation for determining the effect of intergalactic absorption in the energy range 0.2-2 TeV and the redshift range 0.05-0. Read More

Loeb and Waxman have argued that high energy neutrinos from the decay of pions produced in interactions of cosmic rays with interstellar gas in starburst galaxies would be produced with a large enough flux to be observable. Their model is reexamined here and we obtain an upper limit to the diffuse neutrino flux from starburst galaxies. The upper limit obtained here is a factor of ~5 lower than the flux which they predict. Read More

(ABRIDGED) The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) will measure the spectra of distant extragalactic sources of high energy gamma-rays. GLAST can look for energy dependent propagation effects from such sources as a signal of Lorentz invariance violation (LIV). Such sources should also exhibit high energy spectral cutoffs from pair production interactions with low energy photons. Read More

We calculate the flux of neutrinos generated by the propagation of ultra-high energy nuclei over cosmological distances. The propagation takes into account the interactions with cosmic background radiations including the CMB and the most recent estimates of higher energy (infra-red, optical, and ultra violet) backgrounds. We assume that the composition of ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) at the source is the same as the observed one at low energies. Read More

We discuss the production of cosmogenic neutrinos on extragalactic infrared photons in a model of its cosmological evolution. The relative importance of these infrared photons as a target for proton interactions is significant, especially in the case of steep injection spectra of the ultrahigh energy cosmic rays. For an E$^{-2. Read More

Taking into account new physics and astronomy developments I give a revised high energy neutrino flux for the AGN core model of Stecker, Done, Salamon and Sommers Read More

We calculate the intergalactic photon density as a function of both energy and redshift for 0 < z < 6 for photon energies from .003 eV to the Lyman limit cutoff at 13.6 eV in a Lambda-CDM universe with $\Omega_{\Lambda} = 0. Read More

Ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays passing through the central region of the Galaxy interact with starlight and the infrared photons. Both nuclei and protons generate secondary fluxes of photons and neutrinos on their passage through the central region. We compute the fluxes of these secondary particles, the observations of which can be used to improve one's understanding of origin and composition of ultrahigh-energy comic rays, especially if the violation of the Greisen--Zatespin--Kuzmin cutoff is confirmed by the future data. Read More

We propose a method for estimating the composition, i.e. the relative amounts of leptons and protons, of extragalactic jets which exhibit X-ray bright knots in their kpc scale jets. Read More

Owing to their isotropy, it is generally believed that ultrahigh energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) are extragalactic in origin. It is then expected that interactions of these cosmic rays with photons of the cosmic background radiation (CBR) should produce a drastic reduction in their flux above and energy of about $5 \times 10^{19}$ eV (50 EeV), the so-called ``GZK effect''. At present, the existence of this effect is uncertain owing to conflicting observational data and small number statistics. Read More

We propose a method for estimating the matter content of quasar jets which exhibit Chandra - detected knots in their kpc scale jets. The method relies on measuring the component of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation that is bulk-Comptonized (BC) by the cold electrons in the relativistically flowing jet. We apply our method to PKS 0637 - 752, a superluminal quasar with an one -- sided Chandra - detected large scale jet. Read More

Multi-TeV spectra of Mkn 501 and other BL Lac objects exhibit the high energy cutoffs predicted to be the result of intergalactic annihilation interactions, primarily with IR photons having the flux level determined by various astrophysical observations. After correcting for such intergalactic absorption, these spectra can be explained within the framework of synchrotron self-Compton emission models. Stecker and Glashow have shown that the existence of this annihilation via electron-positron pair production puts strong constriants on Lorentz invariance violation. Read More

The goal of the Orbiting Wide-field Light-collectors (OWL) mission is to study the origin and physics of the highest energy particles known in nature, the ultrahigh energy cosmic rays (UHECRs). The OWL mission consists of telescopes with UV sensitive cameras on two satellites operating in tandem to view in stereo the development of the giant particle showers induced in the Earth's atmosphere by UHECRs. This paper discusses the characteristics of the OWL mission. Read More