Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Physics and Astronomy
Analysis is presented on VERITAS observations of the very high energy gamma-ray spectra of five high frequency peaked BL Lac objects over a range of redshifts. Each object has an unusually hard intrinsic GeV spectrum, and is expected to produce TeV gamma-ray emission into the optically- thick regime of the universe's diffuse extragalactic background light (EBL). Hard spectrum HBLs have recently emerged as an effective tool for measurement of the EBL spectrum, due to extinction of gamma-ray signals from blazars via the pair production interaction gamma-TeV gamma-EBL → e+e−. The VERITAS collaboration has approved long term observations on several of these sources, with the specific intent of studying their spectra to probe for absorption features resulting from these interactions. An introduction to the field of particle astrophysics is presented, followed by an overview of the EBL and its relation to the evolution of the universe. The VERITAS gamma-ray telescope is described in detail, followed by a full overview of the analysis techniques used to derive gamma-ray spectra from VERITAS data. The analyses of the blazars themselves are presented, followed by a discussion of their application to further constraints of the EBL. Each blazar is de-absorbed with an assumed EBL spectrum. In each case the intrinsic TeV spectrum is consistent with lower-energy gamma-ray emission in the optically-thin regime of the EBL.
Arun Sreenivasan Madhavan
Madhavan, Arun Sreenivasan, "The VHE gamma-ray spectra of several hard-spectrum blazars from long-term observations with the VERITAS telescope array" (2013). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 13585.