A Caltech Library Service

Constraints on Axionlike Particles from a Hard X-Ray Observation of Betelgeuse

Xiao, Mengjiao and Perez, Kerstin M. and Giannotti, Maurizio and Straniero, Oscar and Mirizzi, Alessandro and Grefenstette, Brian W. and Roach, Brandon M. and Nynka, Melania (2021) Constraints on Axionlike Particles from a Hard X-Ray Observation of Betelgeuse. Physical Review Letters, 126 (3). Art. No. 031101. ISSN 0031-9007. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.126.031101.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We use the first observation of Betelgeuse in hard x rays to perform a novel search for axionlike particles (ALPs). Betelgeuse is not expected to be a standard source of x rays, but light ALPs produced in the stellar core could be converted back into photons in the Galactic magnetic field, producing a detectable flux that peaks in the hard x-ray band (E_γ > 10 keV). Using a 50 ks observation of Betelgeuse by the NuSTAR satellite telescope, we find no significant excess of events above the expected background. Using models of the regular Galactic magnetic field in the direction of Betelgeuse, we set a 95% C.L. upper limit on the ALP-photon coupling of g_(aγ) < (0.5–1.8) × 10⁻¹¹ GeV⁻¹ (depending on magnetic field model) for ALP masses m_a < (5.5–3.5) × 10 ⁻¹¹ eV.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Xiao, Mengjiao0000-0002-6397-617X
Perez, Kerstin M.0000-0002-6404-4737
Giannotti, Maurizio0000-0001-9823-6262
Straniero, Oscar0000-0002-5514-6125
Mirizzi, Alessandro0000-0002-5382-3786
Grefenstette, Brian W.0000-0002-1984-2932
Roach, Brandon M.0000-0003-3841-6290
Nynka, Melania0000-0002-3310-1946
Alternate Title:Constraints on Axion-like Particles from a Hard X-ray Observation of Betelgeuse
Additional Information:© 2021 American Physical Society. (Received 14 October 2020; revised 28 November 2020; accepted 11 December 2020; published 21 January 2021) We thank D. R. Wik and S. Rossland for helpful discussions on the NuSTAR instrument background; J. L. Han and S. Zhang for discussions concerning the Galactic magnetic field in the direction of Betelgeuse; Benjamin Safdi, Christopher Dessert, John Beacom, Shunsaku Horiuchi, and Kenny C. Y. Ng for helpful comments and discussions. The NuSTAR observations described in this work were awarded under NASA Grant No. 80NSSC20K0031. The computational aspects of this work made extensive use of the following packages: saoimage ds9 distributed by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; the scipy ecosystem, particularly matplotlib and numpy; and astropy, a community-developed core python package for Astronomy. This research has made use of data and software provided by the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), which is a service of the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA/GSFC and the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. We thank the NuSTAR Operations, Software and Calibration teams for support with the execution and analysis of these observations. This research made use of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software (NuSTARDAS), jointly developed by the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC, Italy) and the California Institute of Technology (USA). M. X. and M. G. were supported by NASA Grant No. 80NSSC20K0031. O. S. has been supported by the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) and the Instituto Nazionale di Astrofsica (INAF) under the Agreement No. 2017-14-H.0—attività di studio per la comunità scientifica di Astrofisica delle Alte Energie e Fisica Astroparticellare. A. M. is partially supported by the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) through the “Theoretical Astroparticle Physics” project and by the research Grant No. 2017W4HA7S “NAT-NET: Neutrino and Astroparticle Theory Network” under the program PRIN 2017 funded by the Italian Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca (MUR). B. G. was supported under NASA Contract No. NNG08FD60C.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory, NuSTAR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)UNSPECIFIED
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)2017-14-H.0
Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)2017W4HA7S
Ministero dell’Università e della Ricerca (MUR)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210122-092204482
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:107658
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:22 Jan 2021 20:10
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page