Stellar Basins of Gravitationally Bound Particles

I will describe and explore the consequences of a newly identified physical phenomenon: volumetric stellar emission into gravitationally bound orbits of weakly coupled particles such as axions, moduli, hidden photons, and neutrinos. While only a tiny fraction of the instantaneous luminosity of a star (the vast majority of the emission is into relativistic modes), the continual injection of these particles into a small part of phase space causes them to accumulate over astrophysically long time scales, forming what I call a "stellar basin", in analogy with the geologic kind. The energy density of the Solar basin can surpass that of the relativistic Solar flux at Earth's location after only a million years, for any sufficiently long-lived particle produced through an emission process whose matrix elements are unsuppressed at low momentum. This observation has immediate and striking consequences for direct detection experiments---including new limits on axion and hidden-photon parameter space independent of dark matter assumptions---and may also increase the prospects for indirect detection of weakly interacting particles around stars.

Date

Affiliation

KITP, University of California, Santa Barbara

Speakers