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The XMM Cluster Survey: new evidence for the 3.5-keV feature in clusters is inconsistent with a dark matter origin

S. Bhargava, P. M. Giles, A. K. Romer, T. Jeltema, J. A. Mayers, A. Bermeo, M. Hilton, R. Wilkinson, C. Vergara Cervantes, C. A. Collins, M. Manolopoulou, P. J. Rooney, S. Rosborough, K. Sabirli, J. P. Stott, E. Swann, P. T. P. Viana

There have been several reports of a detection of an unexplained excess of X-ray emission at ≃3.5 keV in astrophysical systems. One interpretation of this excess is the decay of sterile neutrino dark matter. The most influential study to date analysed 73 clusters observed by the XMM–Newton satellite. We explore evidence for a ≃3.5-keV excess in the XMM-PN spectra of 117 redMaPPer galaxy clusters (0.1 < z < 0.6). In our analysis of individual spectra, we identify three systems with an excess of flux at ≃3.5 keV. In one case (XCS J0003.3+0204), this excess may result from a discrete emission line. None of these systems are the most dark matter dominated in our sample. We group the remaining 114 clusters into four temperature (TX) bins to search for an increase in ≃3.5-keV flux excess with TX – a reliable tracer of halo mass. However, we do not find evidence of a significant excess in flux at ≃3.5 keV in any TX bins. To maximize sensitivity to a potentially weak dark matter decay feature at ≃3.5 keV, we jointly fit 114 clusters. Again, no significant excess is found at ≃3.5 keV. We estimate the upper limit of an undetected emission line at ≃3.5 keV to be 2.41 × 10−6 photons cm−2 s−1, corresponding to a mixing angle of sin2(2θ) = 4.4 × 10−11, lower than previous estimates from cluster studies. We conclude that a flux excess at ≃3.5 keV is not a ubiquitous feature in clusters and therefore unlikely to originate from sterile neutrino dark matter decay.

line: identification; galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium; dark matter; X-rays: galaxies: clusters; Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics; Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena; High Energy Physics - Phenomenology

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 497, Issue 1, Page 656
2020 September

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia