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Partitioning Gamma-Ray Sources in Fermi Large Area Telescope Observations for Spatial and Spectral Analysis

Booth Id:



Finalist Names:
Goldstein, Isabelle (School: Beaumont School)

The Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) theory for dark matter predicts the production of gamma radiation from WIMP annihilation and decay. To examine the possibility of WIMP dark matter, gamma ray sources from M31 are partitioned from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope from the LAT instrument with 5 years of clean and ultraclean cut-data in the 1 – 300 GeV range. Background, halo, and point source distributions are then used in a spectral and spatial analysis. The spectrum is well described by a power law, but the polar averaged radial density is a good fit with a line of sight integral of the linear and squared Navarro - Frenk - White (NFW) density profile with an R^2 = 0.9992. The NFW fit also exhibits a significantly larger contribution coefficient from decay processes than annihilation. The correlation between theory and predictions suggests that either WIMPs are the source of the radiation, astrophysical processes are influenced by dark matter that follows this density fall off, or astrophysical processes follow this profile randomly. These findings raise fundamental questions on the origin of galactic halo gamma rays, and warrants continued research in the field.

Awards Won:
European Organization for Nuclear Research-CERN: All expense paid trip to tour CERN