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Special Seminar



Resolving Particle Astrophysics Anomalies with Current and Future X-Ray Missions
Antonia Hubbard (Northwestern University)

Particle astrophysics uses space as a laboratory in which to probe open questions in particle physics. One of the largest open questions is the nature of dark matter. The most compelling dark matter claim is a reported X-ray excess observed by NuSTAR, Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Suzaku. The conventional atomic expectation cannot currently explain this excess. Understanding this anomaly is an exciting prospect that implies new physics, whether it is due to dark matter, charge exchange, or an incomplete understanding of atomic backgrounds. The observation is at the edge of what current instruments can reliably observe, and it requires high-resolution instruments like the Micro-X sounding rocket and the Resolve spectrometer aboard XRISM to separate an anomalous excess from the nearby atomic lines.

Micro-X launched on July 22, 2018, marking the first operation of Transition Edge Sensors in space. Micro-X is designed for high resolution observations of extended bodies, notably Supernova Remnants and galactic dark matter. I will present the experiment design and the engineering results of the first flight. While a rocket pointing error led to no time on-target, the majority of the instrument performed well in flight. Pursuing the X-ray excess with both Micro-X and XRISM will enhance the results from each mission. A single flight of Micro-X will determine if the reported X-ray excess is present from galactic dark matter, and XRISM will definitively determine if the line is present in extragalactic bodies.

The X-ray excess is just one of many interesting open questions in particle astrophysics. I will conclude the talk with future prospects for dark matter searches with gammas and anti-deuterons, Supernova Remnant X-ray studies, and using multimessenger signals across X-rays, gammas, and neutrinos to constrain the astroparticle processes occurring in violent astronomical events.

Date September 05, 2019
Start/End Time 03:30 PM - 04:30 PM
Location B34, E215
Event Type Seminars/Colloquia
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