Statistical Measurement of the Gamma-ray Source-count Distribution as a Function of Energy [HEAP]

Photon counts statistics have recently been proven to provide a sensitive observable for characterizing gamma-ray source populations and for measuring the composition of the gamma-ray sky. In this work, we generalize the use of the standard 1-point probability distribution function (1pPDF) to decompose the high-latitude gamma-ray emission observed with Fermi-LAT into: (i) point-source contributions, (ii) the Galactic foreground contribution, and (iii) a diffuse isotropic background contribution. We analyze gamma-ray data in five adjacent energy bands between 1 and 171 GeV. We measure the source-count distribution dN/dS as a function of energy, and demonstrate that our results extend current measurements from source catalogs to the regime of so far undetected sources. Our method improves the sensitivity for resolving point-source populations by about one order of magnitude in flux. The dN/dS distribution as a function of flux is found to be compatible with a broken power law. We derive upper limits on further possible breaks as well as the angular power of unresolved sources. We discuss the composition of the gamma-ray sky and capabilities of the 1pPDF method.

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H. Zechlin, A. Cuoco, F. Donato, et. al.
Wed, 22 Feb 17

Comments: 4 pages, 2 figures. Proceedings, 6th International Symposium on High-Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy (Gamma2016), Heidelberg, Germany, July 11-15, 2016