Star-forming galaxies as the origin of diffuse high-energy backgrounds: Gamma-ray and neutrino connections, and implications for starburst history

Irene Tamborra, Shin'Ichiro Ando, Kohta Murase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

Star-forming galaxies have been predicted to contribute considerably to the diffuse gamma-ray background as they are guaranteed reservoirs of cosmic rays. Assuming that the hadronic interactions responsible for high-energy gamma rays also produce high-energy neutrinos and that (100) PeV cosmic rays can be produced and confined in starburst galaxies, we here discuss the possibility that star-forming galaxies are also the main sources of the high-energy neutrinos observed by the IceCube experiment. First, we compute the diffuse gamma-ray background from star-forming galaxies, adopting the latest Herschel PEP/HerMES luminosity function and relying on the correlation between the gamma-ray and infrared luminosities reported by Fermi observations. Then we derive the expected intensity of the diffuse high-energy neutrinos from star-forming galaxies including normal and starburst galaxies. Our results indicate that starbursts, including those with active galactic nuclei and galaxy mergers, could be the main sources of the high-energy neutrinos observed by the IceCube experiment. We find that assuming a cosmic-ray spectral index of 2.1-2.2 for all starburst-like galaxies, our predictions can be consistent with both the Fermi and IceCube data, but larger indices readily fail to explain the observed diffuse neutrino flux. Taking the starburst high-energy spectral index as free parameter, and extrapolating from GeV to PeV energies, we find that the spectra harder than E-2.15 are likely to be excluded by the IceCube data, which can be more constraining than the Fermi data for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Volume2014
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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